Moderna (MRNA -1.66%), one of the leading coronavirus vaccine developers, wasn't a leader on the stock market this week. The biotech's shares had lost nearly 15% of their value week to date as of mid-afternoon Friday, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Investors were most concerned about a media report presaging some discouraging news for the company.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published an article stating that the government is planning to end its financial support for coronavirus vaccines and COVID-19 treatments. Although the coronavirus is still very much with us, cases in many jurisdictions -- such as the U.S. -- have been dropping, at times precipitously.
The Biden administration's goal is to shift the costs of jabs and drugs to the healthcare industry and/or the end user, according to the report. The Journal wrote that an unnamed Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson stated that this adjustment would take months. HHS is aiming to conduct a planning session on Aug. 30 with representatives from healthcare companies, pharmacies, and state health departments to brainstorm how such a transition might work, the WSJ reports.
Investors don't like uncertainty, and in the wake of the article, it's unclear how coronavirus stocks like Moderna will be affected. For its part, the company has not yet commented on the report.
No Moderna stockholder should consider selling only on the basis of this (potential) development. First, while the U.S. is massive, it's not the only jurisdiction where the company's durably popular shot, Spikevax, has been either approved or authorized. Second, cases are down, true, but there are still many people falling ill with the coronavirus and we're still not out of the woods yet. Finally, we won't be able to gauge any potential impact on the biotech until plans for the transition start to take shape.