Moderna moves three vaccines into final stage trials

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Moderna has more to offer beyond its Covid vaccine.

The biotech company Wednesday announced positive clinical trial data on three experimental vaccines against other viruses. The company is moving those shots to final stage studies, it said.

The update brings Moderna a step closer to having multiple products on the market, which it badly needs amid plunging demand for Covid shots worldwide. The company’s Covid jab is its only commercially available product.

Moderna’s stock has long been tied to that vaccine, with shares falling nearly 45% last year. But shares of the company closed 3% higher on Wednesday after the announcements.

Moderna will chart its post-Covid future Wednesday during its fifth annual “Vaccines Day,” an investor event in Boston focused on the company’s vaccine portfolio.

That business has an estimated total addressable market of $52 billion for infectious disease shots, which includes $27 billion for respiratory vaccines and more than $25 billion for latent shots and other jabs.

A category of viruses called latent viruses linger inside patients for prolonged periods without causing any symptoms but can “reactivate” and cause serious health complications later in their lives. They represent a huge unmet need that Moderna can address, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday.

“Once those viruses are in your body, it’s in your body forever,” he said, adding that there are no approved shots for several of the latent viruses, including some that Moderna is targeting.

The company will present new clinical trial data on the three vaccines, including some against latent viruses, at the event Wednesday.

Those vaccines include a shot against norovirus, a highly contagious stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhea; a vaccine against Epstein-Barr virus, a common herpes virus that can cause contagious infections and is associated with some cancers; and a shot designed to target a virus that causes shingles and chickenpox.

More CNBC health coverage

Moderna will also discuss other updates across its vaccine business. The company has five other shots in late-stage clinical trials and said it expects to release data on two of those jabs this year. That includes its combination vaccine against Covid and the flu and a shot against another common herpes virus called cytomegalovirus, or CMV

Among the other vaccines in late-stage development is a jab against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which is expected to win regulatory approval in the U.S. in May. 

It also includes a new and improved version of Moderna’s Covid shot. The company on Tuesday said its “next-generation” Covid shot triggered a stronger immune response against the virus than its current vaccine on the market in a late-stage clinical trial.

Another shot in phase three trials is the company’s flu vaccine.

Also on Wednesday, Moderna said it recently entered into a development and commercialization funding agreement…

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