Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) has been actively engaged in development of a coronavirus vaccine since January. The company is developing an mRNA-based vaccine, mRNA-1273, for COVID-19, which uses a genetic form of the virus' genome. The vaccine is intended to target the spike (S) protein of the coronavirus. Investors will likely focus on the progress and any update on the development of the vaccine when the company reports second-quarter 2020 results.
The company initiated a phase III earlier this week. The phase III study is evaluating 100 micrograms dose of mRNA-1273 administered on a two-dose vaccination schedule, given 28 days apart for safety and reactogenicity.
Moderna has also completed enrollment in a phase II study on mRNA-1273, which the company is conducting under its own investigational new drug application in June. The study is evaluating 50 µg and 100 µg doses of mRNA-1273. Interim data from a phase I study, announced earlier this month, demonstrated that participants vaccinated twice with mRNA-1273 induced rapid and strong immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.
The company has been developing other mRNA-based vaccines targeting different indications in clinical stage studies.
The ongoing clinical activities as well as preparation for phase III study on mRNA-1273 are likely to have driven operating expenses higher in the second quarter.
We note that Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) in collaboration with BioNTech (BNTX - Free Report) and Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) in collaboration with TranslateBio have also been developing mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Moderna’s coronavirus development progress has attracted partnerships from other government as well global organizations namely, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (“CEPI”), the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (“NIAID”) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority ("BARDA"). These partnerships have provided grants to support the different stages of development of mRNA-1273.
The company has received a commitment of $472 million from the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed program. This is an addition to the earlier commitment of $483 million to support late-stage development of its mRNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19 from the BARDA. These funds will be available to the company as and when needed. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for grant revenues is pegged at $21.2 million for the second quarter.
Moderna has few strategic alliances with pharma companies for the development of some of its pipeline candidates. These alliances generate collaboration revenues for the company. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for collaboration revenues is pegged at $11.7 million for the second quarter. (Read more: Moderna to Report Q2 Earnings: What's in the Cards?)
Moderna currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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