Gritstone Soars Due to Progress on COVID Vaccine

Gritstone entered into a clinical trial agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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Shares of drug maker Gritstone Oncology  (GRTS) - Get Report more than tripled Tuesday after the company said the development of its second-generation coronavirus vaccine is advancing. 

Gritstone has entered into a clinical trial agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to initiate clinical testing. 

Shares of the Emeryville, Calif.-based company ended the regular session up $15.88, or  249% at $22.27. The stock gained an additional 19% in after-hours trading.

The company said its development of a vaccine that treats the virus that causes COVID-19 is moving forward with a Phase 1 clinical trial expected to be conducted through the NIAID.

The vaccine could potentially provide long-term protection as well as potency against mutations of the virus. 

“Gritstone’s vaccine may provide more comprehensive viral protection by inducing a better combination of T cell responses and neutralizing antibodies as compared to the currently available vaccines,” said Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D. principal investigator of Gritstone’s COVID study.

The company received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the preclinical evaluation of the vaccine. 

America could reasonably distribute 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine shots within 100 days -- effectively starting the vaccination process for nearly a third the U.S. population -- said the nation's top infectious diseases doctor on Sunday. "The issue of getting 100 million doses in the first 100 days is absolutely a doable thing," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News "Meet the Press."

Fauci said that by invoking the Defense Production Act, President-Elect Joe Biden could help rapidly speed up the so-far underwhelming distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

"The feasibility of his goal is absolutely clear, there’s no doubt about it. That can be done," said Fauci of Biden's plan to get out 100 million doses in 100 days.