Back to top

Image: Bigstock

Moderna a Step Closer to Coronavirus Vaccine: ETFs to Gain

Read MoreHide Full Article

The first company to start human clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in the United States — Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) — has informed that it is on schedule to initiate the final-stage clinical trial by July. The last stage that will be arranged in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) would involve 30,000 participants in the United States and use a 100-microgram dose of the vaccine. 

The company also informed that the trial’s primary aim is to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The trial’s secondary goals will involve the prevention of severe cases of the disease that might result in hospitalization for management and prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2 — the virus responsible for causing COVID-19. Buoyed by the news, Moderna’s stock rose 0.2% on Jun 11 when the S&P 500 lost 5.9% on rising worries over the resurgence of coronavirus infections in the United States.

Investors are starting to increasingly worry about the rising number of coronavirus cases in around 20 states in the United States. Going by the Johns Hopkins University data, the number of U.S. coronavirus infections passed the grim mark of two million and more than 113,700 Americans have lost their lives. The seven-day average of new cases continued to spike in more than 20 states in the last two weeks, despite lesser number of cases being recorded in some cities and states.

Other Vaccine Candidates Also Seeing Progress

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) announced that it is speeding up the timeline for the initiation of a phase I/II human clinical study on its vaccine candidate for COVID-19. It will now begin the phase I/II study in the second half of July rather than September, as announced earlier. Strong preclinical data and positive feedback from regulatory authorities allowed J&J to accelerate the clinical study on the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2-S, recombinant. J&J’s goal is to supply more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine globally if it proves to be safe and effective.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN - Free Report) also informed about starting to manufacture the University of Oxford’s potential coronavirus vaccine ahead of trial results in the beginning of this month and has doubled its capacity to two billion doses. The company also stated that it won’t be waiting for clinical results, which are expected in August. Also, President Trump claimed that the country has already procured two million vaccine doses for the coronavirus disease that are “ready to go” if they “check out for safety” on Jun 6.

Moderna ETFs to Gain

The competition to come up with a vaccine is opening up near-term opportunities, making the biotech sector a prospective space for investments. Therefore, we discuss a few ETFs that seek to provide exposure to Moderna:

Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF (CNCR - Free Report)

This ETF offers exposure to a basket of companies that develop therapies to treat cancer by harnessing the body's own immune system. Holding 25 stocks in its basket, it has around 11.8% exposure to Moderna. The fund has an AUM of $40.2 million. The product charges 79 basis points in annual fees (read: Biotech ETFs to Gain From Latest Advancements in Cancer Drugs).

iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF (IDNA - Free Report)

The fund seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, which match the NYSE FactSet Global Genomics and Immuno Biopharma Index. It holds about 47 securities in its basket with Moderna, occupying a weight of 11%. It has an AUM of $91.7 million and an expense ratio of 0.47% (read: Profit from the Genomics Market Momentum With These ETFs).      

VanEck Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH - Free Report)

The underlying MVIS US Listed Biotech 25 Index tracks the overall performance of companies involved in the development and production, marketing and sales of drugs based on genetic analysis and diagnostic equipment. It holds about 24 securities in its basket, with 7.6% exposure to Moderna. Its AUM is $443.5 million and it has an expense ratio of 0.35% (read: How Are Biotech ETFs Reacting to Coronavirus Treatment News?).

Other broader biotech ETFs that hold companies developing tests, vaccines and therapies for the coronavirus, include the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB - Free Report) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI - Free Report) .

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>