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Moderna Stocks Slide As Its Mrna-Based Flu Vaccine Unable To Ace Existing Vaccines

Moderna Stocks Slide As Its Mrna-Based Flu Vaccine Unable To Ace Existing Vaccines
Stocks of pharma company Moderna Inc fell 11 per cent after preliminary results suggested that the firm's mRNA-based flu vaccine could not be robust enough to provide it a competitive advantage over currently licenced flu vaccines on the market, particularly for elderly persons.
In an investor presentation, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based vaccine company stated that in an early stage research, antibody levels of their vaccine against all four strains of the influenza virus were found not to be as strong in older individuals as Sanofi's Fluzone HD.
"On one hand, the antibodies increased to good levels, but on the other hand, the levels aren't necessarily seen as high or necessarily better than some high-efficacy vaccines such as Flublok or Fluzone HD," Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a client note.
The vaccine candidate of the company, mRNA-1010, is based on messenger RNA technology, which is also used in the Covid-19 vaccines developed by the company.
Following the enormous success of mRNA-based vaccines in combating the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the world, pharmaceutical companies are hurrying to capitalise on the technology and produce vaccinations for other illnesses, including influenza.
The early-stage trial, which is testing the vaccine in 180 patients, is still underway, and a mid-stage study, which is comparing it against an existing licenced flu vaccine, has 500 participants registered, according to the firm, with the interim analysis coming in early 2022.
Despite the limitations of the data, Moderna is ahead of other drugmakers, including competitor Pfizer Inc, who are also testing a flu vaccine based on messenger RNA.
Moderna has stated that it is working on a pan-respiratory yearly booster vaccine that would target several viruses such as COVID-19, flu, and Respiratory syncytial virus.
According to the company, the new vaccine, mRNA-1345, has shown promising early-stage outcomes.
Novavax, a vaccine producer, is also exploring a combination flu and COVID-19 vaccine, which has showed promise in preclinical experiments.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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