Health and Science

Biotech firm Moderna is working on a vaccine for China's deadly coronavirus

Key Points
  • Moderna told CNBC it is working with U.S. government health agencies to develop a vaccine for the current strain of coronavirus that has killed nine and infected hundreds more in China.
  • The biotech company is working with the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Vaccine Research Center on a potential vaccine, the company said in a filing.

Moderna on Tuesday told CNBC it is working with U.S. government health agencies to develop a vaccine for the current strain of coronavirus that has killed nine and infected hundreds more in China.

Shares of Moderna surged 7% in premarket trading following the report.

The biotech company is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) on a potential vaccine, the company said in a Securities and Exchange filing.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC's Becky Quick his company is working with the NIH to develop the vaccine. "They've produced a cancer vaccine in 40 days; using the same tech to do this quickly," Quick tweeted.

"Moderna's mRNA vaccine technology could serve as a rapid and flexible platform that may be useful in responding to newly emerging viral threats, such as the novel coronavirus," the company said in its SEC filing. "While we have not previously tested this rapid response capability, Moderna confirms that we are working with NIH/NIAID/VRC on a potential vaccine response to the current public health emergency."

Moderna, founded in 2010, is using Amazon's cloud platform for more than a dozen drug candidates in the pipeline, with seven going through trial studies, according to Amazon Web Services. The cloud service is used to help speed up the amount of time it takes to get the drugs from research to clinical trials.

CNBC's Becky Quick and Tyler Clifford contributed to this report.

Moderna CEO: Developing a new class of medicine

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Moderna CEO: Developing new class of medicine using mRNA, Amazon cloud