Moderna Stock Dives On Report Biden Will Support Waiving Covid Vaccine Patents

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Moderna stock crashed late Wednesday after President Joe Biden’s administration voiced support for waiving patent rights covering Covid-19 vaccines.




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U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai said the Biden administration would negotiate with the World Trade Organization to discuss waiving patent protection for the vaccines. This week, the WTO called for member nations to temporarily ease patent protections for Covid vaccines.

Doing so would allow other countries the chance to manufacture Covid vaccines using the same technological processes as companies like Moderna (MRNA), BioNTech (BNTX) and Pfizer (PFE).

“The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines,” Tai said in a written statement.

The news hammered vaccine stocks, including Moderna stock.

On the stock market today, Moderna stock slumped 6.2% to 162.84. BioNTech and Novavax (NVAX) stocks fell a respective 3.5% and 4.9%. Pfizer stock rose a fraction while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shares fell 0.4%.

Moderna Stock, Vaccine Stocks Dive

Moderna and BioNTech — the latter with development partner Pfizer — are the first companies to ever gain authorization for drugs based on messenger RNA technology. Messenger RNA tells the body to make a protein. The immune system reacts in response.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses adenovirus technology, similar to AstraZeneca‘s (AZN). Meanwhile, the Novavax vaccine — which isn’t authorized anywhere — uses insect cells.

Moderna stock and BioNTech stock are particularly at risk. The duo just launched their first and only products, Covid-19 vaccines, and are hoping for a long runway of sales.

Biden’s administration is still working to ramp Covid vaccine production in the U.S., Tai said.

“The administration’s aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible,” she said. “As our vaccine supply for American people is secured, the administration will continue to ramp up its efforts — working with the private sector and all possible partners — to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution.”

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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