Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Moderna Releases mRNA Vaccine Data, but Few Details About Its Coronavirus Candidate

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Updated Apr 14, 2020 at 3:37PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Based on the company's presentation, its underlying technology works. But questions remain regarding its hopeful SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

On Tuesday, Moderna (MRNA 1.35%) held its first Vaccines Day -- virtually, of course -- to give investors and analysts an overview of its pipeline of nine mRNA vaccines that it hopes will provide protection against a variety of viruses, among them SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. As of 3:30 p.m. EDT, shares of Moderna were up 4.6% on the day, outpacing the Nasdaq, which was up 3.9%.

The company's 259-slide presentation gave a good background on vaccines and how Moderna's vaccine-creation technology is substantially different than older technologies, but what likely drove its shares higher on Tuesday was the release of interim data from its phase 1 clinical trial testing mRNA-1893, a Zika virus vaccine. The 10 microgram dose of the vaccine produced a seroconversion rate -- patients going from not having antibodies to the virus to having antibodies -- of 94.4%. More impressive, all 23 of the patients treated with the 30 microgram dose had a seroconversion.

Moderna also tested the vaccine on patients who already had antibodies to the Zika virus: 50% of those patients receiving the 10 microgram dose and 75% of patients who got the 30 microgram dose demonstrated a four-fold increase in antibodies after the second vaccination.

Gloved hands about to give an injection into a shoulder

Image source: Getty Images.

The data clearly show that Moderna's mRNA technology can create treatments that cause patients to express viral proteins that their immune systems react to, generating antibodies.

The big questions about mRNA-1273 -- Moderna's candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine -- are whether the company picked the right coronavirus protein to use to generate the immune response, and whether the antibodies that are produced will actually protect patients from contracting COVID-19.

So far, 15 patients in the phase 1 clinical trial for mRNA-1273 have received the two lower doses, and enrollment for the group of 15 patients who will receive the highest dose started last week. Unfortunately, Moderna didn't release any data from that study during its Vaccines Day presentation.

Brian Orelli and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
MRNA
$125.31 (1.35%) $1.67

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
329%
 
S&P 500 Returns
106%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/26/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.