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Why Moderna Was a Roller Coaster Today

By Eric Volkman - Updated Mar 9, 2021 at 7:36AM

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Several bits of news were buffeting the stock in various directions.

What happened

Moderna (MRNA -4.97%) provided an up-and-down ride for its investors Friday, with the stock trading as much as 1.5% higher and 8.5% lower than its previous day's close. Ultimately, it landed essentially flat on the day. Several bits of news were responsible for the push-pull dynamic.

So what

Moderna announced that its partner in Japan, Takeda Pharmaceutical, submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) for its now-famous mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine (known as TAK-919 in that nation).

Coronavirus container receiving swab from the gloved hand of a medical professional.

Image source: Getty Images.

In another potentially positive development, a study conducted at California's La Jolla Institute for Immunology seems to indicate that the T cells produced by mRNA-1273 are efficacious against the four currently most-concerning variants of the coronavirus. The catch is, the research is based on a set of lab tests and thus does not offer definitive proof. Also, the research has not yet been peer reviewed. In addition, Pfizer and BioNTech's BNT162b2 was found to have similar properties.

On a more discouraging note for Moderna, Reuters reported Friday that fresh research indicates that AZD1222, the rival coronavirus vaccine candidate from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, is effective against the P1, or "Brazil," variant.

Now what

As none of these developments were decisive or momentous, shareholders seemed unsure of how to trade Moderna on Friday. However, I think the news was generally good for the biotech, particularly the Japan New Drug Application (even if it was more or less expected). Moderna stock still looks like a good investment.

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Stocks Mentioned

Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
MRNA
$136.25 (-4.97%) $-7.13
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
$52.47 (3.59%) $1.82
AstraZeneca PLC Stock Quote
AstraZeneca PLC
AZN
$66.21 (2.59%) $1.67
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited Stock Quote
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
TAK
$14.72 (0.96%) $0.14
BioNTech SE Stock Quote
BioNTech SE
BNTX
$163.00 (-2.90%) $-4.87

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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