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Moderna (MRNA) stock is one of the biotech firms taking the lead in the current fight against COVID-19. The company could see fortunes change soon. Yesterday, MRNA gained over 10%, today in the pre-market, it is up another 3.89%.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has infected nearly 2,500,000 people all over the world. With a current death toll over 170,000, the outbreak is the worst health pandemic in a very long time. As efforts are pulled to fight the disease, several companies are doing what they can about treatment courses and vaccines. These companies and their stocks have seen some increase as a result, in recent times. One of the standouts is Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) and its stock.
Over the last few months, Moderna has climbed quite interestingly on news of its efforts at tackling COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes. Moderna Inc. is currently working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center. Together, they have developed the mRNA-1273 vaccine and have begun human testing on volunteers. Its coronavirus-specific moves are the primary reasons MRNA has been quite healthy.
MRNA Stock So Far
At the beginning of the year, MRNA was trading at $19. Since then, it has climbed over 164% in 2020 gains, to its current premarket figure of $53.40. MRNA closed at $51.69, and even that was an increase of more than 10% over the last close. The climb in MRNA stock this year has now made CEO Stephane Bancel a billionaire. Based on his 9% stake in the company, Bancel is now worth more than $1 billion.
Last Friday, Moderna announced that the U.S. Federal Government is pumping $483 million into the company, to quicken its mRNA-1273 development. According to Moderna, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) hopes that the funding can help accelerate the mRNA-1273 timeline. This timeline, hopefully, will stretch all the way to a license from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh, the funding should see Moderna supply a few million doses per month this year. If this goes well, Singh believes that this could jump to tens of millions per month, by next year. Singh is bullish on MRNA and has given the stock an Outperform rating.
MRNA to Benefit From Widespread Testing
In a recent announcement, the Rockefeller Foundation said it has a plan to increase COVID-19 tests around the US. According to the Foundation, the plan is to test as many as 30 million people every week. However, setting this plan in motion could cost up to $100 billion. The ambitious and very expensive plan might be a good idea because the U.S. reportedly loses between $300 billion and $400 billion to the pandemic, every month.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that at the moment, there are up to 70 companies at different stages of a vaccine. Some of them include Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO), and VBI Vaccines (NASDAQ: VBIV).
Meanwhile, the work on coronavirus drug is in progress as well. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) stock recently jumped after the University of Chicago hospital reported a rapid recovery in patients that received Gilead’s drug, Remdesivir.
All of these plans could see MRNA stock jump more if the company can exploit the Federal Government backing it has, and come up with an effective vaccine.