Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) climbed 3.6% on Thursday after the drugmaker announced the completion of enrollment for its COVID-19 vaccine study.
Moderna has enrolled 30,000 people for the phase 3 trial for its coronavirus vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. The biotech noted that 42% of the participants are from groups deemed to be at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease, including more than 7,000 Americans over the age of 65 and 5,000 people who are younger but have chronic diseases, such as severe obesity and diabetes.
Importantly, Moderna also said that 37% of study participants are minorities, which the company believes helps to represent the broad diversity of the U.S. population.
Over 25,000 participants have already received their second dose of the experimental vaccine. Moderna said it will decide whether to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization after it collects two months of safety data on roughly half of the study’s participants.
Moderna is competing with the likes of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and a host of other organizations in the race to find a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Being first to market would give the winner advantages in terms of initial sales and development funding, and investors understandably cheered Moderna’s potential progress in this regard.