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Moderna's (MRNA) Coronavirus Vaccine Study Begins in Japan

Zacks Equity Research
·3-min read

Moderna Inc.’s MRNA partner Takeda Pharmaceutical announced that it has dosed the first participant in a phase I/II study with Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in Japan. The study is being led by Japan’s Takeda whose development code for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate is TAK-919.

The placebo-controlled phase I/II study will enroll 200 participants aged 20 years and above in Japan. The study will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of two shots of mRNA-1273 administered at an interval of 28 days.

Notably, upon potential licensure in Japan, per an agreement, Takeda will import and distribute 50 million doses of mRNA-1273, starting in the first half of 2021.

Shares of Moderna have skyrocketed 519.4% in the past year compared with the industry’s increase of 14.9%.

price chart for MRNA
price chart for MRNA

We note that Moderna tasted a major success when it received approval for emergency use of mRNA-1273 — its sole commercial product, in December last year, in the United States. This was followed by a similar authorization in Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, Israel and Switzerland. The vaccine is under review in other countries.

Notably, Moderna started development of mRNA-1273 in the beginning of 2020, following the coronavirus outbreak. The vaccine candidate achieved a 94.1% efficacy rate in pivotal late-stage study.

Several millions of doses of the vaccine candidate have already been administered in the United States. The company is expected to generate billions in revenues in 2021 from the sales of its coronavirus vaccine.

Meanwhile, Pfizer PFE and its partner Germany-based BioNTech’s BNTX mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, is also approved for emergency/temporary/conditional use in more than 40 countries, including the United States and 27 EU member countries.

AstraZeneca’s AZN adenovirus-based coronavirus vaccine candidate, AZD1222, is approved for emergency use in the United Kingdom and India.

Zacks Rank

Moderna currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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