Why Moderna Stock Trailed the Market Today

What happened

The stock market as a whole was quite lively on Thursday, with the S&P 500 index gaining more than 1.4% on the day. Apparently, someone forgot to invite Moderna ( MRNA 0.53% ) to the party. The high-profile coronavirus stock only gained 0.5% despite a business update that conveyed several pieces of good news from the company.

So what

Moderna’s money product at the moment is, of course, its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine (also known as Spikevax). The company said it is continuing to develop and advance it, as we haven’t yet escaped the threat of COVID.

Image source: Getty Images.

On the clinical front, a phase 2/3 study in children aged 6 months to 6 years met its primary endpoint, with a neutralizing effect similar to that demonstrated by adults. Meanwhile, in the regulatory sphere, Moderna has begun an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Spikevax to be administered to youths from age 6 to 12.

Finally, as regards that vaccine, Moderna updated its total amount of advance purchase agreements for the jab for 2022. The new tally is $21 billion, up from the $19 billion reported at the end of February.

Now what

Even with a famous biotech like Moderna, what is typically more important for investors is a company’s pipeline.

Moderna said an interim analysis of a phase 2 study of its mRNA-1010 influenza vaccine revealed that “no significant safety concerns were identified, and the immunogenicity data is consistent with a potential for superiority to standard-dose vaccine for influenza A strains.”

The company added that it continues to develop other vaccines aimed at preventing five viruses that cause latent infections. Three of these are in clinical trials. 

While Moderna’s stock has taken hits lately, it’s still quite a high flyer thanks to the great success of Spikevax. Investors might be somewhat underwhelmed by the lack of truly spectacular news in the business update, hence their lack of enthusiasm on Thursday.

 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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