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Why This Highflying Biotech Hit The Skids After

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Tonyeight Member Level  Friday, 02/14/20 11:49:28 PM
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Why This Highflying Biotech Hit The Skids After Its Vaccine Update
MRNA Stock Dips After Update

Moderna is testing vaccines and therapeutics that rely on messenger RNA, or mRNA. This form of RNA delivers the instructions for protein creation from the DNA.

Late Monday, Moderna said it enrolled the first patient in a Phase 1 and Phase 2 study of a drug to treat methylmalonic acidemia. In this disorder, a patient's body can't break down some fats or proteins. This results in a buildup of acid in the blood.

"This study will provide important information about the potential of an mRNA approach to replace the deficient enzyme in patients with MMA, which currently has no approved medical therapy or investigation medicine that address the underlying cause," Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks said in a written statement.

Moderna expects to have the results of a Phase 2 study of a vaccine in the third quarter. The vaccine aims to prevent cytomegalovirus, or CMV. CMV is a common virus that doesn't cause symptoms in healthy people. But it can be a problem in people with compromised immune systems and in pregnant women.

Biotech Company Targets Coronavirus

The biotech company also announced three new vaccine efforts in Epstein-Barr virus, respiratory syncytial virus in young children and novel coronavirus.

Epstein-Barr is a type of herpes virus. Respiratory syncytial virus can cause cold-like symptoms and can be serious in infants and adults. Novel coronavirus has become well known in China for its rapid spread and a growing number of deaths beginning in December.

Investment bank Chardan kept its buy rating on MRNA stock.

"Prophylactic vaccines continue to be an area of forward momentum and we expect this will remain the case in 2020," the brokerage wrote in a report to clients.

MRNA Stock Dives On Offering

But shares of MRNA stock slipped on the offering of common stock.

Underwriters will receive a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional $75 million in shares of common MRNA stock.

Representatives of Moderna declined to comment in an email to Investor's Business Daily. The company cited a quiet period related to the secondary offering.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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