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Dr. Fauci Calls Moderna Vaccine Candidate Data 'Promising'

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine candidate data has come under scrutiny, but the company is moving on to Phase II trials of mRNA-1273.
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Moderna's  (MRNA) - Get Moderna Inc. Report coronavirus vaccine candidate got a boost on Friday from Dr, Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and one of the top physicians on the Trump administration's coronavirus task force. 

Dr. Fauci told NPR Friday that "having looked at the data myself, it is really quite promising." He also noted, however, that full data have not been peer-reviewed. 

That data will be peer-reviewed in the coming weeks, Dr. Fauci said. He also said that multiple vaccine candidates are already making doses before health officials are "completely sure that it works."

Moderna's vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, was seen as promising following the release of some early test results, sending its stock surging. But the possible vaccine has come under scrutiny in recent days following an article in STAT News where experts noted that the company only released limited data about the vaccine study results. 

The drug has now proceeded to a phase 2 trial involving 600 healthy patients, 300 between the ages of 18 and 55, and another 300 aged 55 years and up. 

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The phase 1 trial that put Moderna on the map tested 45 subjects.

STAT News pointed out that while the 45 subjects in the test who received certain doses of the drug developed binding antibodies, just eight volunteers developed neutralizing antibodies, which are the kinds of antibodies you want to see in vaccine test results.

Moderna has moved quickly to capitalize on the buzz from its drug candidate

Earlier this week, Moderna moved forward with a new stock offering that could net it more than $1.3 billion in additional capital. The company announced plans to issue 17.6 million new shares at $76 each. 

Moderna shares were rising nearly 5% in pre-market trading on Friday.