Moderna (MRNA -0.15%) has a date with Congress. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has called for it to testify in front of its members, along with four other companies currently developing coronavirus vaccines. Those four are AstraZeneca (AZN 0.83%), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.47%), Merck (MRK 1.22%), and Pfizer (PFE 0.88%).

Officials from those companies will field questions from the committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee on the current state of their vaccine development processes.

In its official announcement, the committee said that "[w]e look forward to hearing from each of the companies about their research and development efforts, safety and efficacy standards and their ongoing preparations to manufacture and distribute an eventual vaccine."

A researcher studying a sample in a petri dish.

Image source: Getty Images.

The committee promised that additional details about the hearings, which are scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, will be provided the week before they take place.

Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer are not the only biotechs or pharmaceutical companies developing vaccine candidates. However, they are the five tapped to participate in the government's Warp Speed program, in which it's contributing resources to helping the most promising vaccine candidates through the development process.

Of the quintet, Moderna is considered by many to be the frontrunner in the race. Its mRNA-1273 candidate is currently undergoing a phase 2 trial; meanwhile, the company is scheduled to begin phase 3 testing simultaneously by the end of this month. Allegedly, friction between company and government health officials has resulted in delays, but Moderna continues to pledge a July start date.

Interestingly, Moderna was the group's worst-performing stock on Friday -- it fell by 3.6%. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson dropped on the day, while Merck inched slightly higher. The only company that beat the gains of the wider stock market was Pfizer, which rose 1.1%.