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Moderna Expects First Look at Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Data in November

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Oct 29, 2020 at 2:38PM

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Those early results could show that mRNA-1273 is effective enough against COVID-19 -- but if not, it will have several shots to hit its goal.

Moderna (MRNA 4.33%) expects to take its first interim peek at data from the late-stage clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in November. Comments to that effect were made during the company's third-quarter conference call on Thursday.

That early measurement will come once there are 53 cases of COVID-19 among people participating in the study. The data monitoring board will then look at how many of those cases were in participants who received the vaccine versus those who received a placebo. If the vaccine's efficacy level at that point is 74.1% or greater, the study will be deemed a success. Otherwise, it will continue to the next interim look, which will come after there are 106 COVID-19 cases among the participants.

In the third quarter, Moderna received $1.1 billion in customer deposits for mRNA-1273 doses that it has promised to deliver if the vaccine gains regulatory authorization. Of course, that's all booked as deferred revenue, and without any drugs or vaccines on the market, Moderna lost $232.7 million in Q3. Fortunately, the biotech has nearly $4 billion in the bank, so it's not in danger of running out of cash anytime soon.

Gloved hands giving an injection into a shoulder

Image source: Getty Images.

Moderna has partnered with Takeda Pharmaceutical (TAK 0.80%) to distribute 50 million doses of mRNA-1273 in Japan through a deal that was announced Thursday. Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare is also participating in the agreement, and presumably paying for the vaccine, although the companies didn't disclose the price tag.

While all eyes are on mRNA-1273, Moderna has a fairly stocked pipeline of additional candidates in development, including a vaccine for cytomegalovirus that's ready to enter a phase 3 study and an ovarian cancer treatment that's being tested in a phase 2 clinical trial.

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

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