The race to develop an effective vaccine to treat the coronavirus from China is in full effect. And because of this, investors are watching the biotechnology sector closely. That said, one interesting investment possibility in this space is Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) stock.
What separates Moderna from other biotechs is something called messenger RNA, or mRNA. The company’s website claims that it’s just “basic human biology.” But I would contend that there’s more to it than that.
In fact, Moderna’s cutting-edge scientific technology could make Moderna stock the number-one coronavirus stock right now.
And here’s why.
Not Just About the Coronavirus
Rather than misstate the science behind mRNA, I’ll let Moderna explain it in basic terms:
“Messenger RNA, or mRNA, plays a fundamental role in human biology, transferring the instructions stored in DNA to make the proteins required in every living cell. Our approach is to use mRNA medicines to instruct a patient’s own cells to produce proteins that could prevent, treat, or cure disease.”
mRNA has multiple applications. That said, Moderna focuses on mRNA technology to develop vaccines and treatments for a number of diseases. For instance, the company is working hard to develop an effective vaccine for congenital cytomegalovirus — or CMV.
As InvestorPlace‘s Luke Lango explains, CMV is “a leading cause of birth defects in the U.S.” affecting around 0.65% of newborns in America, which is approximately 25,000 newborns per year. Tragically, 10% to 30% of babies with severe cases of CMV will die before their first birthday.
Overall, an unfortunate condition like CMV doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as the coronavirus. Nonetheless, Moderna’s quest to develop a vaccine for CMV is vitally important. By pioneering mRNA vaccines, Moderna is making great strides in battling CMV with “two of three dose cohorts in Phase 2 CMV vaccine (mRNA-1647) dose-confirmation study completed enrollment, and third and final cohort is more than 85% enrolled.”
Moreover, the company expects its first Phase 2 interim analysis for CMV in 2020’s third quarter. Moderna is additionally preparing for Phase 3 CMV study, which the company hopes to commence sometime in 2021.
Addressing the Coronavirus, and More
In total, Moderna has 24 mRNA development candidates and 12 of them are currently involved in clinical studies. Amazingly, more than 1,700 participants have, so far, been enrolled in Moderna’s clinical studies.
But as you know, investors’ attention is focused on the coronavirus. So even an outright cure for CMV wouldn’t garner nearly as much attention as a vaccine for the coronavirus. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.
On that front, though, Moderna is working tirelessly to advance its mRNA-centered solution. To that end, the company appears to be making progress. Moderna announced that its “First clinical-grade batch of novel coronavirus vaccine (mRNA-1273) [has been] shipped and received by NIH for use in Phase 1 study in the U.S.”
NIH is the National Institutes of Health, a medical-research agency of the U.S. government. It’s the country’s chief agency for public-health research. Therefore, it’s a step forward for Moderna to get its prospective coronavirus vaccine to the NIH.
Could the next step be a governmental source of funding for Moderna’s vaccine? Might it be a fast track to regulatory approval? I won’t speculate on these matters. But, I will retain the right to ponder the possibilities and hope that Moderna achieves its objectives.
The Final Word on MRNA Stock
I don’t view the fight to develop a coronavirus vaccine like a horse race. And, I don’t think of MRNA stock like a race horse.
Instead, I’m recommending it with a “B” rating because Moderna’s developing vital, leading-edge technologies. If the company succeeds, we all win.
Louis Navellier had an unconventional start, as a grad student who accidentally built a market-beating stock system — with returns rivaling even Warren Buffett. In his latest feat, Louis discovered the “Master Key” to profiting from the biggest tech revolution of this (or any) generation. Louis Navellier may hold some of the aforementioned securities in one or more of his newsletters.