Moderna shares gain the most in 2 1/2 weeks on Thursday, COVID-19 vaccine for phase 2 trial approved by the FDA

Moderna Inc (MRNA) said earlier this week that the Food and Drug Administration had cleared its coronavirus vaccine for phase 2 trial.

The company expects to initiate phase 2 trials with 600 participants soon, while also finalizing plans for a phase 3 trial this summer.

Moderna shares closed higher for the fourth time in the past ten trading sessions on NASDAQ on Thursday. It has also been the sharpest single-session gain since April 20th. The stock went up 8.66% ($4.24) to $53.19, after touching an intraday high at $55.72, or a price level not seen since April 21st ($56.29).

Shares of Moderna Inc have risen 171.93% so far this year, following another 28.09% gain in 2019.

Last week, Moderna Inc said that it had formed a 10-year partnership with Lonza, a Swiss drug producer, in an attempt to speed up production of the experimental vaccine.

“We are accelerating manufacturing scale-up and our partnership with Lonza puts us in a position to make and distribute as many vaccine doses of mRNA-1273 as possible, should it prove to be safe and effective,” Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement, cited by CNBC.

The company expects to initiate a phase 3 trial early this summer, while the first batch may potentially be approved as soon as 2021, the CEO added.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 11 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Moderna Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $52.00, with a high estimate of $83.00 and a low estimate of $32.00. The median estimate represents a 2.24% downside compared to the closing price of $53.19 on May 7th.

The same media also reported that at least 10 out of 11 surveyed investment analysts had rated Moderna Inc’s stock as “Buy”, while 1 – as “Hold”.

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