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As Stat News has reported, it is too early to assess the COVID-19 vaccine offered by Moderna. Most of what Moderna disclosed “were words, not data”, while the critical information has been withheld. MRNA stock is down.
The world is now digging for COVID-19 vaccine information and any piece of news draws a response. Needless to say, companies involved in vaccine development are the object of special attention. Among them is Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), an American biotech company leading the COVID-19 vaccine race. On Monday, Moderna announced the latest vaccine trial results, however, experts met them with skepticism and said Moderna revealed very little information, not enough to assess its mRNA-1273.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
According to Moderna, its vaccine candidate produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers. Moderna described the study in general, but experts asked not to be very enthusiastic about the announcement. As Stat News has reported, it is too early to assess the vaccine. Most of what Moderna disclosed “were words, not data”. Meanwhile, the company withheld critical information.
Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University, said:
“That’s very early. We don’t know if those antibodies are durable.”
John “Jack” Rose from Yale University stated:
“When a company like Moderna with such incredibly vast resources says they have generated SARS-2 neutralizing antibodies in a human trial, I would really like to see numbers from whatever assay they are using.”
The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, which collaborates with Moderna to develop the COVID-19 vaccine, has not commented on the announcement. Hopefully, Moderna will soon provide more sensitive data we can trust.
Moderna’s vaccine mRNA-1273 encodes for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein NIAID and Moderna designed. On March 16, Moderna started human trials of mRNA-1273. On May 6, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug to proceed to a Phase 2 study. Besides, the FDA granted mRNA-1273 Fast Track designation. Currently, Moderna is finalizing the protocol for a Phase 3 study which will begin in July 2020.
Moderna (MRNA) Stock Goes Down in Pre-Market
Immediately after Moderna’s announcement, Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) stock soared 20%. Moderna stock was trading at $80 per share with a market cap of $29.70 billion. But after the experts’ comments, it plummeted and closed 10.41% down at $71.67. After hours, Moderna shares tanked further to $67.36. In the pre-market trading today, Moderna stock remains down, at $68.94 (-3.81%) at the moment of writing.
On Monday, Moderna also announced it would issue 17.6 million shares at $76 each. In addition, the company decided to give underwriters a buy-option for 2.64 million shares in common stock. Reportedly, Moderna asked Morgan Stanley to run the entire stock deal.
Since the beginning of 2020, Moderna’s stock price has soared by 300%. And taking into consideration its COVID-19 vaccine progress, experts believe it is not yet limit. For example, Needham’s Alan Carr has raised the stock price target to $94.
More coronavirus news is here.