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Why Moderna Stock Jumped Today

By Joe Tenebruso - Jan 4, 2021 at 4:42PM

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The drugmaker is ramping up its coronavirus vaccine production targets.

What happened

Shares of Moderna ( MRNA 1.74% ) climbed 7% on Monday after the biotech provided investors with a COVID-19 vaccine supply update. 

So what

Moderna boosted its baseline production estimates for its coronavirus vaccine from 500 million to 600 million doses in 2021 while keeping the top end of its manufacturing projections at 1 billion. Moderna expects to make 100 million doses available in the U.S. by the end of the first quarter and a total of 200 million doses by the end of the second quarter. The drugmaker has already delivered 18 million doses to the U.S. government.

A needle is inserted in a vial that's next to other vials.

Moderna is gearing up to make more of its coronavirus vaccine in 2021. Image source: Getty Images.

"Today, our team is working as hard as they can to manufacture with high quality as many doses of the vaccine as they can," CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a letter to shareholders. "We know that each additional dose we can make will be used to protect one more life."  

Now what 

Moderna estimates that it ended 2020 with roughly $5.25 billion in cash and investments, or about four times more than it began the year with. It plans to use this cash and the cash flow from its COVID-19 vaccine to accelerate the development of its pipeline of drugs. 

"What limited our ability to do more and scale faster in the last five years was cash," Bancel said. Yet with Moderna producing cash from its commercial operations, it can now be more aggressive with its development efforts. "I believe that this will change -- in a very material way -- how we operate during fiscal 2021 and beyond, and the speed at which we scale moving forward," he said. 

Bancel will provide an update on Moderna's development pipeline during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Jan. 11 at 4:30 p.m. EST. 

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