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Moderna stock falls 8% after report says late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial delayed

Moderna‘s stock fell 8% on Thursday after a report said the biotech company’s late-stage trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine will be delayed, possibly by a few weeks.

The company, which is working with the National Institutes of Health, was expected to begin a phase 3 trial with 30,000 participants for its vaccine candidate later this month, pending the results from its mid-stage trial.

However, the company is making changes to the trial plan, which has pushed back the expected start date, according to health-care publication STAT News, citing an investigator. STAT News said it’s unclear how long the start date will be delayed. 

“My understanding was that they wanted to get the first vaccines given in July, and they say they’re still committed to do that,” one investigator told STAT News. “As best I can tell, they’re close to being on target for that.”

Moderna’s experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA. The mRNA is a genetic code that tells cells what to build — in this case, an antigen that may induce an immune response to the virus. It became the first candidate to enter a phase 1 human trial in March.

In May, the company released data from its early-stage trial, which showed the vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies against Covid-19 in at least eight participants. 

The effort by Moderna is one of several working on a potential vaccine for Covid-19 which has infected more than 10 million people and killed at least 516,970, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

On Wednesday, Pfizer released positive results from its closely watched early-stage human trial of a coronavirus vaccine. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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