The head of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the US said yesterday that he was willing to considering granting approval to a coronavirus vaccine before it completes a phase three trial.
During an interview with the Financial Times, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn (pictured to the right) highlighted that the institution is prepared to let a vaccine bypass the full approval process to be granted with emergency-use approval as long as its benefits outweigh its risks.
The head of the FDA emphasized that vaccine developers had to apply to be granted with such status, regardless of whether they do that before the vaccine finished its Phase Tree trials – a final step that involves testing the vaccine in humans at a larger scale.
“If they do that before the end of Phase Three, we may find that appropriate. We may find that inappropriate, we will make a determination”, said Hahn.
How have shares of vaccine developers reacted to the news?
Shares of front-running vaccine developers including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Moderna (MRNA), and AstraZeneca (AZN) are trading down today following the news, although they would clearly benefit from an expedited approval process.
Moderna shares are down 0.39% during today’s pre-market stock trading session at $67.27 per share, while JNJ shares remain unchanged at $153.64 per share. AstraZeneca shares, on the other hand, are down 0.9% so far today in London at 8,340p per share.
One of the elements influencing this downward move is the FDA’s recent decision to approve convalescent plasma as an emergency-use treatment for coronavirus patients, which would reduce the need for a vaccine in short notice if the results of this treatment reduce mortality rates significantly.
Moreover, China and Russia’s announcements of the approval of their own vaccines have also weighed on the price of vaccine maker shares, although experts have repeatedly warned that none of these countries have provided enough evidence to substantiate their claims about the effectiveness of these candidates.
Keeping an eye on AstraZeneca (AZN) shares
AstraZeneca shares continue to be on my watch as the latest price action in London could end up forming a head and shoulders pattern, a bearish formation that could lead to a downward movement if the price spikes up to 9,500p per share but fails to go above that level.
Confirmation of this downward move would be provided if that push does fail to break that resistance and if the price dives below the neckline shown in the chart above.