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Moderna Therapeutics - Back On Track?

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Shares of Moderna Therapeutics Inc. (MRNA), which had a splashy IPO last December, raising $604 million, considered the biggest-ever biotech IPO, touched a new high last week.

Moderna is a developer of messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines, which are designed to instruct a patient's own cells to produce proteins that could prevent, treat, or cure a disease.

The Company's current development pipeline has 20 programs, including 8 prophylactic vaccines; 2 cancer vaccines; 3 intratumoral immune-oncology vaccines; 1 localized regenerative therapeutic; 3 systemic secreted therapeutics; and 3 systemic intracellular therapeutics.

Moderna has a wide range of strategic alliances with leading biopharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, as well as government-sponsored and private organizations, focused on global health initiatives, including BARDA, DARPA, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The most-advanced investigational drug in the pipeline is AZD8601, a localized regenerative therapeutic under a phase IIa study, in coronary artery bypass grafting surgery patients. This study is led by AstraZeneca.

In February of this year, Moderna and Merck submitted a new protocol to the FDA to commence a phase II study to assess whether post-operative adjuvant therapy with mRNA-4157, in combination with Merck's KEYTRUDA, improves recurrence-free survival compared to KEYTRUDA alone.

For Moderna, which priced its IPO at $23 per share, the first day of trading on December 7 itself got off to a rocky start - with the share price down 15% that day. The stock price closed the year 2018 at $15.27. However, it looks like things are changing for the better for Moderna this year as there has been a renewed interest in the stock - with its price hitting new highs.

Given the fact that the Company is gearing up to execute on its development pipeline and focusing to bring out new development candidates in existing modalities as well as new development candidates in new modalities in the coming months, maybe it's time to get in the game.

MRNA has thus far hit a low of $13.03 and a high of $26.23. The stock closed Friday's trading at $25.96, up 12.48%.

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