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Oct 22, 2020

Moderna gets 30,000 patients for final stage of vaccine trial

Notable Calls: Disney, Moderna and Ford

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Moderna Inc. has completed enrollment of its 30,000 participants in its final-stage COVID-19 trial, while more than 25,000 volunteers have received their second shot.

The announcement on Thursday is another indication that vaccine trials are moving into their home stretch. Moderna has said it could get an initial readout on whether the vaccine works by late November. The drugmaker is only slightly behind Pfizer Inc., which is working with German biotech BioNTech SE and expects results from its 44,000-person trial as soon as the end of this month.

Moderna shares rose as much as 4.4 per cent on Thursday morning in New York. This year, the stock has more than tripled in value.

Moderna had slowed trial enrollment in September in order to recruit more minorities, a key goal of U.S. health officials. Overall, 37 per cent of volunteers in the trial come from communities of color, the company said. Also, 42 per cent of are at high risk of developing severe cases of Covid-19, either because they are 65 or older or have pre-existing conditions.

Both Moderna and Pfizer say they won’t submit for an emergency-use authorization until they have collected two months of safety data on the participants. That means that even if Pfizer gets positive initial results this month, it won’t submit for an emergency authorization until after it gets the safety results in the third week of November.