Nasdaq rides on hopes of Moderna coronavirus vaccine – at Inovio’s expense
The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for most of the uncertainties that investors currently face. Even though the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^ IXIC) gained ground during the global health crisis, large segments of the U.S. economy could remain at risk until a permanent solution to the coronavirus is developed and widely disseminated.
Investors are therefore looking to pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the hope that one or more will provide the tools needed to beat the pandemic. On Wednesday morning, the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq-100 indexes both rose, largely on favorable news from Modern (NASDAQ: mRNA) on the vaccine front. However, for every winner there are losers, and rival Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO) was among the worst performers of the morning.
Why Moderna stock is on the rise
Moderna shares rose 11% on Wednesday morning after clinical-stage biotechnology announced the latest information from its Phase 1 study of mRNA-1273, its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. Investors were pleased with the results, which confirmed previous indications of the potential of mRNA-1273.
Moderna published an interim review of their study, which involved giving patients two doses of mRNA-1273 four weeks apart at varying doses. According to the analysis, the vaccine did not cause any serious adverse events during the first 57 days of the study, although several patients reported minor side effects such as fatigue, chills and pain at the injection site. The candidate vaccine produced considerable neutralizing activity, including antibody titers significantly higher than the control group of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
Image source: Moderna.
With these positive results in hand, Moderna moves forward with plan to launch phase 3 trial vaccine candidate before the end of July. This advanced study will include 30,000 participants receiving doses of mRNA-1273, and will assess its effectiveness in preventing people from contracting COVID-19 or having symptomatic cases of the disease. Researchers will also examine whether this reduces the chances of those infected showing severe symptoms of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization.
Moderna is set to join the Nasdaq-100 index, and Wednesday’s gains will further justify its inclusion in this large-cap group. Shareholders are excited about the prospect that he could end up being the first to come up with a viable vaccine to fight COVID-19 at a time when effective responses are desperately needed.
Bad news for rivals
What is good news for Moderna, however, was not good news for some of the other companies vying to position themselves in the fight against COVID-19. Inovio’s stock also skyrocketed in 2020 due to his coronavirus efforts, but for now the stage belongs to Moderna, and Inovio’s shareholders were not celebrating as the stock was down. by nearly 9% at 11:40 a.m. EST.
Many have seen Inovio in the lead in the race to bring a viable vaccine against the coronavirus to market – it has already provided encouraging preliminary test results for its candidate, INO-4800. Additionally, the company intends to move forward with Phase 2/3 trials for INO-4800 this summer, placing it among the early groups of late-stage investigators.
However, this race does not necessarily have to have a single winner. Moderna and Inovio take different approaches to help the human body protect itself against COVID-19. Inovio uses DNA plasmids to encourage cells to build defenses, while Moderna uses messenger RNA. Researchers may eventually find that the best solution includes vaccines that use a combination of strategies to provide more comprehensive protection. However, combined studies should be conducted to verify that even successful vaccines do not end up decreasing the effectiveness of the other.
There is still a long way to go before Moderna, Inovio or any other company can declare victory over the coronavirus. This will not stop investors and traders from taking the plunge and sending their stocks higher as these companies are showing more progress in their endeavors.
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