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MSD cashes in on Moderna investment as FDA mulls COVID-19 vaccine approval

Published on 04/12/20 at 10:53am

Moderna has wrestled its way to the forefront of the industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming one of its most valuable assets. Now, as the company closes in on securing FDA approval for its promising COVID-19 vaccine, MSD has announced that it sold its stake in Moderna

Over the course of just one year, Moderna has become on of the most talked-about names in biotech, growing more than sevenfold from $19.23 at the turn of 2020 to reach $143 on 2 December, primarily as a result of its strong COVID-19 research.  

MSD confirmed that it would be divesting its direct holding in Moderna in the first half of Q4 2020.

The company, known as Merck in the US, said in a statement: “Merck achieved a substantial gain on its direct holding in mRNA over the life of the investment, particularly in 2020 given the substantial appreciation in mRNA’s stock price. Merck retains exposure to mRNA indirectly through its investment in venture funds. Merck and Moderna continue to collaborate on the development of personalised cancer vaccines as well as a cancer vaccine that encodes the four most common KRAS mutations.”

MSD originally invested a sum of $50 million in Moderna back in 2015, followed by a further investment of $125 million in 2018, pursuing collaborative projects which utilised Moderna’s mRNA technology – the same present in its COVID-19 therapy – to develop a personalised cancer vaccine.

Matt Fellows

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