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Moderna Stock Soars on Promising Coronavirus Vaccine Trial News

By Joe Tenebruso – Jul 15, 2020 at 3:27PM

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The biotech shared some exciting news with investors.

Shares of Moderna's (MRNA 0.15%) leapt 7% on Wednesday, furthering the biotech's torrid gains -- of more than 315% -- so far in 2020. 

On Tuesday, a peer-reviewed interim analysis of Moderna's phase 1 study of its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The results showed that neutralizing antibodies -- which researchers are hopeful will help to prevent infection by the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 -- were found in 100% of evaluated participants in the study. 

A person wearing a business suit is pointing to an upwardly sloping digital stock chart.

Investors cheered encouraging news regarding Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Image source: Getty Images.

The vaccine candidate also seemed to be generally safe and well-tolerated. None of the 45 participants reported serious side effects through the first 57 days of the study. 

Notably, by day 57, participants who received two 100-microgram doses of the vaccine candidate were found to have neutralizing antibody levels that were more than twice that of people who had recovered from COVID-19. 

"These Phase 1 data demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits a robust immune response across all dose levels," Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks said in a press release.

Moderna plans to begin a phase 3 trial of mRNA-1273 by July 27. It will be a much larger study, with as many as 30,000 participants. Moderna hopes the trial will show its vaccine candidate is safe and effective against COVID-19.

If it does, it could be a boon for Moderna and its shareholders. Jefferies analyst Michael Yee forecasts annual sales of more than $5 billion for Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine, should regulators authorize its use. 

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Jefferies Financial Group Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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