Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) is not content to remain in the shadows. The company, another name in the race to develop a novel coronavirus vaccine, just announced some big news. CEO Stephane Bancel said Moderna should know by November if its vaccine candidate works, and MRNA stock is rallying.
Why does this matter? To start, Moderna is one of the leading companies in the vaccine race. It has backing from the U.S. government via Operation Warp Speed, and is one of the final three companies paving the way. Rivals AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) have also announced timelines for wrapping up trials and seeking early approval.
Investors were likely fearful that Moderna, another favorite of Wall Street, would fall behind. Like Pfizer, the company is experimenting with a new type of vaccine. Moderna hopes to use messenger RNA, or mRNA, to fight the coronavirus. That innovation is likely boosting general support in the market.
Bancel, echoing Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, shared that Moderna is tracking a rather competitive timeline. The best-case scenario would see the company deliver late-stage trial results in October. In the worst-case scenario, those results would come in December.
Either way, Moderna has a series of supply deals on hand to produce and deliver 100 million doses by the end of the year.
MRNA Stock Pops on Optimistic Timeline
Beyond the general competition, MRNA stock is likely popping because of the broader context of coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. President Donald Trump has promised the rollout of a vaccine before Election Day, and has shared he would be willing to grant early approval as soon as October. Operation Warp Speed, the program that backs Moderna, has also begun to prep for mass vaccination.
Granted, the plan produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is less aggressive than what Trump has touted. However, with mass vaccination starting in January 2021, Moderna seems positioned to take full advantage of such a rollout. It has the funding, manufacturing and supply deals to help it leverage the government-driven program.
In other words, regardless of the exact start date, Moderna is in a good spot.
The other piece of exciting news likely driving MRNA stock higher on Thursday comes from a different vaccine. Moderna shared this morning that it is also planning to develop a vaccine for the seasonal flu. We have previously reported on how the flu season this year is receiving broader attention, especially because of the combined risk of the flu and coronavirus. If more consumers continue to pay attention to public health and seek vaccination, Moderna could ride a serious upside catalyst. Additionally, Moderna could bring its innovation to the flu vaccine space, producing a more effective and tailored vaccine.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer for InvestorPlace.com.