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Moderna (MRNA) Stock Up on Vaccine Pipeline Expansion Plan

Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read

Moderna, Inc. MRNA announced three new development programs to accelerate its infectious disease portfolio, following major success with its coronavirus vaccine, mRNA-1273. The company will start evaluating three candidates — mRNA-1010, mRNA-1020 and mRNA-1030 — as seasonal flu vaccines, two candidates — mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1574 — as HIV vaccines and mRNA-1215 as a vaccine against Nipah virus.

The seasonal flu vaccine program will be evaluated for protection against four seasonal viruses recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). While the company will develop mRNA-1644 in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, development of mRNA-1574 will be under a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Early-stage studies in seasonal flu and HIV vaccine programs are expected to start later his year.

The Nipah virus has already been declared a public health concern with an estimated case fatality rate among those infected of 40-75%. The Nipah virus candidate has been co-developed by Moderna and the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center. However, the company did not provide a timeline to initiate a clinical study on the candidate.

Shares of Moderna were up 4% on Jan 11 following the announcement.  The company’s shares have skyrocketed 478.8% compared with the industry’s rise of 9.2%.

Following the announcement of these three new programs, Moderna currently has one commercial medicine and 24 development programs. The company also plans to explore potential combination vaccines against flu, SARS-CoV-2, RSV and human metapneumovirus (hMPV).

Please note that the company received approval for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273 — its sole commercial product, in December last year in the United States. This was followed by a similar approval in Europe, the United Kingdom and Israel, last week. It is under review in several other countries. The company started development of mRNA-1273 in the beginning of 2020, following the coronavirus outbreak. The vaccine candidate achieved a 94.1% efficacy rate in pivotal late-stage study.

Several millions of doses of the candidate have already been administered in the United States. The company is expected to generate billions in revenues in 2021 from the sales of its coronavirus vaccine. Per a Reuters article, the company stated that the immunity in individuals following inoculation with  mRNA-1273 should last at least a year.

Other approved coronavirus vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNTX BNT162b and AstraZeneca’s AZN AZD1222. J&J JNJ is developing a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in a late-stage study with data readout expected by the end of January.

Among other pipeline candidates, cytomegalovirus vaccine — mRNA-1647 — is the leading candidate. A pivotal, phase III study is expected to start this year. The company’s personalized cancer vaccine, mRNA-4157; intratumoral immuno-oncology candidate, mRNA-2416 (OX40L); and ischemic heart disease therapeutics candidate, AZD8601 are in mid-stage development. Majority of other vaccine candidates are in early-stage studies. Several readouts are expected from these studies over the course of this year.

Moderna, Inc. Price

Moderna, Inc. Price
Moderna, Inc. Price

Moderna, Inc. price | Moderna, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank

Moderna currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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