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Moderna Ready to Start Final-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

Moderna is ready to start its final-stage coronavirus-vaccine trial and will enroll 30,000 adults at high risk of contracting the virus.
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Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report confirmed on a government website that it is still on track to begin its final-stage coronavirus vaccine trial.

Shares of the Cambridge, Mass. biopharmaceutical company at last check were up 4.7% to $75.12.

Moderna said in a posting on that it expected to begin the trial on July 27. 

At 87 locations the company will enroll 30,000 adults who are at high risk of contracting the disease. The estimated completion date is Oct. 27.

The participants will help compare its vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, with placebo injections of the vaccine and determine whether doses of the vaccine will keep people free of the coronavirus. 

"The study is designed to primarily evaluate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of mRNA-1273 to prevent covid-19 for up to 2 years after the second dose of mRNA-1273," Moderna said in the posting.

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Trial sites will begin registering people for the trial next week, Moderna said, according to Bloomberg.

Jefferies analyst Michael Yee initiated coverage of Moderna on Monday with a buy rating and a share-price target of $90, and Nasdaq said it would add the stock to the Nasdaq 100. 

The company’s coronavirus vaccine candidate could sell to the tune of $5 billion a year, he wrote, forecasting that mRNA-1273 will garner “at least” an emergency-use authorization by early next year.

Moderna is one of hundreds of companies seeking an effective vaccine. More than 20 vaccine hopefuls are in human testing, and another 130 are in earlier phases of development, according to the World Health Organization.

The company's vaccine candidate was seen as promising following the release of some early test results.

Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who is the nation's leading infectious-disease expert, said on National Public Radio that the data about the candidate were "really quite promising."