Massachusetts based biotechnology firm Moderna is preparing to sell more than $1 billion worth of stocks in fresh share sales after publishing a positive outlook on its phase-1 human trials.
Moderna said it plans to sell $1.25 billion worth of stock to fund the production and distribution of its vaccine candidate, referred to as mRNA-1273, if it can get administrative permissions.
Earlier, Moderna advertised that a phase 1 study of its vaccine was able to produce COVID-19 antibodies, and the company has placed out plans for phase 2 and phase 3 experiments in the coming months. Shares closed at a record high of $80 Monday, up more than 300% from the beginning of the year, though the stock sank 2.8% in after-hours trading Monday after Moderna advertised about fresh share sales.
The statement came days after one of its directors, Moncef Slaoui, walked from the board to become a chief scientist for Operation Warp Speed, a White House drive to expedite vaccine development. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Slaoui’s stock options in Moderna merit more than $10 million valuations with the company’s share price at $66.69.
Moderna has also received $483 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a federal agency. It had partnered with contract development and manufacturing firm, Lonza, and Slaoui has stepped down from that company’s board as well.
Slaoui is expected to dispossess his Moderna stock holdings soon and will donate the value the Moderna stock gained before his eventual walk off to cancer research.
The data published by Moderna is reassuring but factors only a first step in a long process to bring a vaccine to market. The data have not been promulgated in a scientific journal and are only an introductory step toward showing the innovative vaccine is safe and effective. It comes from an interim release on dozens of patients followed over weeks, whereas vaccine approval needs broad testing in thousands of patients followed over many months or years.