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Moderna (MRNA) Starts Early-Stage Nipah Virus Vaccine Study

·4 min read

Moderna, Inc. MRNA announced that it has started dosing healthy participants in a phase I study, which is evaluating the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of its mRNA-based vaccine candidate, mRNA-1215, against the Nipah virus (NIV).

Nipah virus is a pathogen, which has been classified as lethal by multiple health organizations and authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). In fact, the virus has high pandemic potential, which can lead to rapid progressing illness, including coma or death. The virus is capable of being transmitted between animals and human beings. Currently, there are no vaccines or treatments targeting NIV.

Moderna is collaborating with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (“NIAID”) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop the NIV vaccine. In fact, the study will be sponsored, funded and conducted by the NIAID itself.

Shares of Moderna have lost 31.8% in the year so far compared with the industry’s 20.6% decline.

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Zacks Investment Research


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NIV is one of the fifteen pathogens identified by Moderna as a danger to public health and carries a high pandemic potential. MRNA plans to develop mRNA-based vaccines targeting these pathogens and advance them into clinical studies by 2025. Including NIV, Moderna has advanced four vaccine programs into clinical studies, with the other three programs targeting COVID-19, HIV and Zika.

Apart from NIV, Moderna also announced that it has advanced mRNA-1893, its mRNA-based vaccine candidate targeting Zika virus, in mid-stage studies. The company is also evaluating two HIV vaccines, namely mRNA-1574 and mRNA-1644, in early-stage clinical studies.

Moderna has progressed well with its COVID-19 program. Spikevax, the company’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine and currently its sole marketed product, has raked in billions in product sales. It has not only boosted Moderna’s cash resources but is also helping the company expand its mRNA-based pipeline to target new indications. In fact, the success of Spikevax has turned Moderna from a loss-making, clinical-stage company to one of the most profitable companies in the healthcare sector. The company is also developing several other vaccine candidates targeting different COVID-19 variants

Moderna, Inc. Price

Moderna, Inc. Price
Moderna, Inc. Price

Moderna, Inc. price | Moderna, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Moderna currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the overall healthcare sector include Jazz Pharmaceuticals JAZZ, Merck MRK and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals SPPI. While Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals each sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Merck carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Estimates for Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ 2022 earnings have increased from $17.05 to $17.06 in the past 30 days. Shares of JAZZ have risen 21.3% in the year-to-date period.

Earnings of Jazz Pharmaceuticals beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed the mark on one occasion, the average surprise being 12.8%. In the last reported quarter, JAZZ delivered a negative earnings surprise of 0.5%.

Estimates for Spectrum Pharmaceuticals’ 2022 loss have narrowed from 55 cents to 52 cents in the past 30 days. The loss estimates for 2023 have also narrowed from 10 cents to 7 cents in the past 30 days. Shares of SPPI have fallen 36.2% in the year-to-date period.

Earnings of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals beat estimates in two of the last four quarters and missed the mark on the other two occasions, the average surprise being 5.7%. In the last reported quarter, SPPI delivered an earnings surprise of 50%.

Estimates for Merck’s 2022 earnings have increased from $7.28 to $7.31 in the past 30 days. Shares of MRK have risen 22.1% in the year-to-date period.

Earnings of Merck beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed the mark on one occasion, the average surprise being 13.4%. In the last reported quarter, MRK delivered an earnings surprise of 18.2%.


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