What happened 

Shares of Moderna (MRNA -2.39%) climbed 8.4% on Thursday after the drugmaker said it was gearing up for a potential launch of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine. 

So what

Moderna has already received $1.1 billion in customer deposits for its coronavirus vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. "We are actively preparing for the launch of mRNA-1273 and we have signed a number of supply agreements with governments around the world," CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the biotech's third-quarter earnings release.

A syringe is in a drug vial  that's next to eight other drug vials.

Moderna's stock rose on Thursday as investors looked ahead to a possible global launch of its COVID-19 vaccine. Image source: Getty Images.

With its drugs still in the testing phase, Moderna's expenses are currently outpacing its revenue. The company reported a net loss of $233.6 million, or $0.59 per share, in the third quarter. Yet with nearly $4 billion in cash reserves, Moderna has the capital it needs to fund its research and development programs.

Moreover, should its COVID-19 vaccine candidate prove safe and effective and obtain regulatory approval, Moderna could quickly become profitable.

Now what

Moderna has 30,000 people taking part in its phase 3 study of mRNA-1273. Bancel said during a conference call with analysts that he expects the Data and Safety Monitoring Board to conduct its first interim analysis of the clinical trial in November. The results of that analysis could help determine whether Moderna applies for regulatory approval for its potentially life-saving vaccine.