What happened

Shares of Moderna (MRNA 0.57%) jumped 8.4% to a record closing high of $419.05 on Wednesday, as investors bid up the biotech's stock price ahead of its upcoming earnings announcement.

So what

Moderna said on Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Fast Track designation for its mRNA vaccine candidate against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in adults older than 60. RSV is a common respiratory virus that leads to roughly 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths among adults 65 years and older each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The Fast Track designation will accelerate the FDA's review of Moderna's drug. If the vaccine proves both safe and effective, Moderna could add a new revenue stream sooner than many investors expected.

A medical worker is administering a vaccine to a patient.

Image source: Getty Images.

Meanwhile, surging COVID-19 case counts, driven by the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, are leading government officials to reimpose mask-wearing mandates and other safety restrictions. New York City, for one, said it would require evidence of a coronavirus vaccination before people could work out at gyms and dine indoors at restaurants. Many businesses and universities also plan to require proof of vaccination from their employees and students.

Now what 

Investors appear to be betting that these mandates will increase demand for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. Shareholders can expect management to provide its most up-to-date sales and earnings forecast tomorrow. Moderna is slated to hold its second-quarter earnings call at 8 a.m. EDT.