Moderna Launches First Phase 3 Coronavirus Vaccine Study

We may be nearing a coronavirus vaccine.

Moderna just received another round of U.S. funding for its vaccine in the amount of $472 million.  According to SVB Leerink analysts, that commitment will be used to fund a Phase 3 trial for Moderna’s vaccine, which is “set to begin immediately,” as quoted by MarketWatch.

The trial is expected to enroll about 30,000 adults and will evaluate if the vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses.  The volunteers will receive two 100 microgram injections of the vaccine or a placebo up to 28 days apart.  

In addition, according to the company, “The Phase 3 study, called the COVE (Coronavirus Efficacy) study, is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health(NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

The company remains on track to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021.

However, Moderna isn’t the only vaccine stock to watch.

Just last week, it was announced the U.S. government will pay $1.95 billion for Pfizer to produce and deliver 100 million doses of its COVID vaccine once the US declares its safe and effective in humans.  The stock is up close to $2 on the news.

Under the agreement, the U.S. can acquire an additional 500 million doses.

“Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said as quoted by CNBC. “Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.”

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to launch the next phase of their trials later this month, and will seek regulatory approval as early as October 2020.