Biopharma Moderna Inc (MRNA) has announced a $483 million government award to fund manufacturing scale-up and the development of the company’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine mRNA-1273 to FDA licensure.
The NIH-led Phase 1 study of mRNA-1273 has already completed enrollment of 3 dose cohorts (25 µg, 100 µg and 250 µg) and is now expanding to an additional 6 cohorts of older adults and elderly adults
Looking ahead, the company expects the Phase 2 study to begin in Q2 2020, following safety data from the ongoing Phase 1 study.
In addition, Moderna will now hire up to 150 new team members to support efforts following the award from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), says the statement.
“By investing now in our manufacturing process scale-up to enable large scale production for pandemic response, we believe that we would be able to supply millions of doses per month in 2020 and with further investments, tens of millions per month in 2021, if the vaccine candidate is successful in the clinic,” commented CEO Stéphane Bancel.
On the news the stock surged 9% in after-hours trading. Since the beginning of the year, MRNA stock has now more than doubled with a year-to-date gain of 107%.
Indeed, Moderna already made the headlines this week after hosting a virtual Vaccines Day- following which four analysts reiterated their buy ratings on the stock.
This included Roth Capital’s Yasmeen Rahimi who boosted her MRNA price target from $33 to $41. This wave of bullish sentiment sent shares soaring over 7% in Wednesday’s trading.
TipRanks shows that the stock holds a Strong Buy analyst consensus with eight buy ratings in the last three months vs only one hold rating. However the surging share price means that the average analyst price target now indicates downside potential of almost 8%. (See Moderna’s stock analysis on TipRanks)
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