Shares of Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) are rallying in Tuesday’s pre-market session following the company’s announcement late Monday that it has sent vials of its novel coronavirus vaccine for clinical trials.
The Massachusetts-based biotech firm said that its first batch of mRNA-1273 vaccine vials have been shipped from its Norwood manufacturing plant, which manufactures the company’s portfolio of mRNA development candidates, to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Moderna Inc. further added that its first batch of mRNA-1273 vaccine was funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and that it will be used by government researchers in what’s known as a Phase 1 Study at the National Institutes of Health.
How long will it take?
The Wall Street Journal reports that the initial clinical trial to determine the drug’s efficacy is expected to start by late April. The publication notes that the trial will involve about 20 to 25 healthy volunteers and that the results could become available by July or August.
NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal that Moderna has touched a record turnaround time in developing this vaccine.
“Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record,” Fauci was quoted as saying. “Nothing has ever gone that fast.”
Fauci also said that while it’s uncertain whether the gene-based technology vaccine will work, in the case of a successful trial, a coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be available for widespread distribution until next year.
The Chinese government said Tuesday that the total number of accumulated cases linked to the virus nationwide was 77,658, with 2,663 deaths,
South Korea, the second worst-affected country outside of mainland China, is reporting more than 970 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths.
Meanwhile, Italy, Europe’s biggest virus outbreak, has reported seven deaths with infection cases going over 280.
Iran has become the latest cluster outbreak with at least 95 reported cases and 15 deaths.
As of writing, shares of Moderna were up 21% to $22.50. The stock, which closed at $18.23 on Monday, traded as high as $23 & change early Tuesday.