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Moderna Surges to Record High as Vaccine Maker Added to S&P 500

Moderna will replace Alexion Pharmaceuticals in the S&P 500 benchmark following that group's $39 billion takeover by Britain's AstraZeneca in December of last year.

Moderna Inc.  (MRNA) - Get Report shares surged to a fresh record high Friday after the vaccine maker was tipped to enter the S&P 500 benchmark next week. 

Moderna will replace Alexion Pharmaceuticals  (ALXN) - Get Report in the world's most closely-tracked index, starting at the opening bell on Wednesday July 21, following its $39 billion takeover by Britain's AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report in December of last year. 

Moderna shares were marked 6% higher in early trading Friday to change hands at $275.92 each, an all-time high that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 165% with a market value of around $111 billion.

Moderna posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings of $2.84 per share on May 6, with revenues rising to $1.9 billion. The drugmaker also boosted its full-year vaccine sales forecast to around $19.2 billion for the full 2021 financial year.

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Moderna's base plan for 2021 is to produce 800 million doses of its messenger-RNA vaccine, which received emergency approval from the FDA in December of last year, with the aim of "working hard to get as close to 1 billion doses in 2021 as we can," Bancel said in early May.

"The feedback from governments around the world requesting high-efficacy mRNA vaccines and variant boosters is overwhelming. We are now actively engaged in discussions and agreements for 2022 with all of the governments we are currently supplying for 2021." 

Last month, the group formally asked the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for emergency approval to use allow its coronavirus vaccine to be administered to teenagers over the coming months.

Moderna, which filed a similar request with European health authorities earlier this week, said late-stage data from its TeenCOVE study "met its primary immunogenicity endpoint, successfully bridging immune responses to the adult vaccination' with a vaccination efficacy of 100% among the 2,500 participants. A 93% efficacy rate was also noted 14 days after the first of the vaccine's two dose regiment, Moderna said.

The drugmaker is asking the FDA to issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) notice that will allow its mRNA-1273 to be given to children between the ages of 12 and 18.