Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Moderna Starts a Phase 2 Clinical Trial for Its COVID-19 Vaccine

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Updated Jun 1, 2020 at 8:54AM

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

The vaccine is advancing through clinical trials at lightning speed.

Moderna (MRNA -0.07%) has enrolled the first participants in a phase 2 clinical trial testing mRNA-1273, its vaccine against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The move puts the biotech one step closer to potentially having the first COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S., although the timing isn't all that surprising. Moderna announced plans to start the mid-stage study in April, followed by an endorsement by the Food and Drug Administration last month. And phase 1 data for the vaccine released May 18 certainly looked promising enough to justify moving to mid-stage testing.

Hand holding a syringe and a person's shoulder

Image source: Getty Images.

Moderna plans to enroll 600 participants in the study, with half of them being 55 years of age or older. Based on the phase 1 study, Moderna plans to test two doses of the drug, which will be compared with a placebo. Each participant will receive an initial vaccination and a booster to increase antibody production.

The phase 2 clinical trial might be able to read out faster than the 45-participant phase 1 study that took about two months to gather data. That's because all participants can be dosed immediately, unlike in a phase 1 dose-escalation study where safety data from each dose has to be gathered before the next dose can be started. Of course, there are substantially more participants in the phase 2 study, but it shouldn't be too hard to find 600 people who are interested in enrolling in the study.

Moderna is shooting for starting the phase 3 clinical trial in July. The company is still working on the design of the study, but presumably it'll need to have thousands of participants to gather enough safety data to get the vaccine approved by regulators.

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
$122.15 (-0.07%) $0.08

*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
327%
 
S&P 500 Returns
105%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/29/2022.

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.