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Moderna Shares Climb on Development of mRNA Vaccine for Phase 1 Coronavirus Study

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Shares of Moderna traded 23% higher after the company reported that it has developed and shipped an mRNA vaccine against novel coronavirus for use in a Phase 1 testing study in the U.S.

Yesterday evening, clinical stage biotechnology company Moderna Inc. (MRNA:NASDAQ), which states that it is "pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines," announced that "it has released the first batch of mRNA-1273, the company's vaccine against the novel coronavirus, for human use."

The firm added that is has already shipped vials of mRNA-1273 to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The company advised that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) funded the manufacturing of this current batch of samples that will be used in a planned Phase 1 study in the United States.

The company explained that "mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus encoding for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein, which was designed by Moderna in collaboration with NIAID."

Juan Andres, chief technical operations and quality officer at Moderna, commented, "I want to thank the entire Moderna team for their extraordinary effort in responding to this global health emergency with record speed. The collaboration across Moderna, with NIAID, and with CEPI has allowed us to deliver a clinical batch in 42 days from sequence identification...This would not have been possible without our Norwood manufacturing site, which uses leading-edge technology to enable flexible operations and ensure high quality standards are met for clinical-grade material."

The company advised that "coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can lead to respiratory illness, including MERS and SARS which are transmitted between animals and people and can evolve into strains not previously identified in humans."

Moderna Inc. is a clinical stage biotechnology company headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., engaged in transformative medicines based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). The firm is pursuing mRNA science to minimize the undesirable activation of the immune system by mRNA and to maximize the potency of mRNA once in the target cells. The company has a diverse development pipeline of 24 programs with multiple clinical studies underway. Its therapeutics and vaccine development programs span infectious diseases, oncology, cardiovascular diseases, and rare genetic diseases. The company currently has strategic alliances for development programs with AstraZeneca Plc.(AZN:NYSE) and Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK:NYSE).

Moderna has a market capitalization of around $6.7 billion with approximately 358.8 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 5.6%. MRNA shares opened 19% higher today at $22.15 (+$3.56, +19.15%) over yesterday's $18.59 closing price. The stock has traded today between $20.51 and $23.38 per share and is currently trading at $22.91 (+$4.32, +23.24%).


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