According to Bancel, Moderna is working “with public health leaders around the world” to produce a booster to tackle the Omicron variant.
Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) shares gained over 9% in reaction to the news that the company is currently working on a booster that targets the omicron variant. Currently down 0.09%, Moderna is trading at $233.50 in the after-hours session. Having declined nearly 8% in its year-to-date record, MRNA has also lost 24.89% in the last three months. In addition, the biotech company has shed 15.68% over the past month. Despite the losses, Moderna stock increased by 87.64% in the last year and gained 0.27% in the last five days.
Moderna Says Booster for Omicron Variant Will Be Available This Fall
The company’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, said that the omicron-specific booster would be available later in the year. According to Bancel, Moderna is working in hands “with public health leaders around the world” to produce a booster to tackle the fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Moderna vaccine targeting omicron will soon enter clinical trials and reportedly roll out in fall 2022.
The biotech company has signed advanced purchase agreements for product sales for 2022. Back in November, Moderna revealed that it signed advanced purchase agreements for product sales of about $17billion. However, the company has updated that the deal is worth $18.5 billion. In addition, the vaccine manufacturer stated that it signed around $3.5 billion in options, which included any potential updated Covid-19 vaccine booster candidates.
Revealing further, Moderna said it is in talks for a 2022 coronavirus vaccine contract.
In 2021, the company shipped 807 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine globally. Out of the total number of doses sent worldwide, 25% went to low and middle-income countries. CEO Bancel said in an official press release:
“While our Covid-19 vaccine is our first medicine to market, we have made significant progress across our pipeline of 40 development programs and now have 23 mRNA programs in clinical trials.”
Now, it appears like a universal flu vaccine may be the next breakthrough for Moderna, using mRNA technology. Scientists at both Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna are now exploring producing a universal flu jab.
Increasing Flu Cases
The number of flu cases recorded in 2020 went drastically down compared to other years, mainly due to the COVID restrictions. However, the number began to rise when winter started. There began to be an increasing number of influenza infections and hospitalizations. According to the weekly Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fluview report, most cases are in eastern and central states.
Moderna announced the first positive interim data from a phase 1 study of its tetravalent seasonal flu vaccine candidate dubbed mRNA-10101 in older and younger adults. Furthermore, the company announced that the phase 2 study of mRNA-1010 is now enrolled. The flu vaccine candidate is in preparation for phase 3.