US health officials say so far "no glitches" in Moderna coronavirus vaccine development

Shares in Moderna gained as much as nearly 17% on Friday after Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in a government briefing that there have so far been "no glitches" in the development of the company's potential 2019-nCoV vaccine. Fauci added that if development continues to progress, which he believes is likely, then clinical testing on the vaccine candidate could begin within 2.5 months, in line with an earlier time frame he had given. 

Moderna announced last month that it received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to accelerate the development of an mRNA vaccine against the new coronavirus strain. Stéphane Bancel, chief executive at Moderna, said at the time that "we believe our mRNA vaccine technology offers potential advantages in the speed of development and production scalability." 

The NIAID collaborated with Moderna to design the vaccine, with the agency responsible for investigational new drug-enabling studies and a Phase I clinical trial in the US. 

Meanwhile, other drugmakers working on initiatives in response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak include Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences, as well as GlaxoSmithKline, which is also partnering with CEPI, to offer its adjuvant technology to researchers developing vaccines against 2019-nCoV. 

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Gilead gains amidst pandemic pandemonium.

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