What happened

Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) rose by 6.5% on Thursday after the biotech said it had collected enough data from the phase 3 study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to trigger an interim analysis. 

So what

Moderna said enough people in its clinical trial had contracted COVID-19 for the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) to begin a review of the effectiveness of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.

A person is pointing to an upwardly sloping line.

Moderna's stock climbed on Thursday as investors looked ahead to a potentially positive outcome for its phase 3 trial of mRNA-1273. Image source: Getty Images.

Moderna does not yet know whether the study participants who contracted COVID-19 received its vaccine candidate or a placebo. The drugmaker also did not specify when it expected the results of the interim analysis to be announced.

Now what

Investors are optimistic about Moderna's vaccine candidate, particularly after Pfizer and BioNTech said their coronavirus vaccine candidate appeared to be more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. Moderna's vaccine-development platform uses similar messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology as that used by Pfizer. 

If Moderna's experimental vaccine proves to be similarly effective at preventing the dangerous and rapidly spreading disease, shareholders could be in store for even larger gains in the days ahead.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.