Shares in Covid vaccine maker Moderna jumped 12pc after the company released another tranche of data showing that the jab is effective and announced it was submitting the results to regulators for speedy approval.
The US biotech, whose share price has soared by more than half since it first unveiled promising vaccine trial data two weeks ago, said it would be submitting its final findings to the US drugs regulator today, alongside UK and European regulators.
Final analysis of data from a trial involving 30,000 participants showed Moderna's vaccine was more than 94pc effective in preventing Covid and 100pc effective in preventing severe coronavirus. This was based on data from 196 patients.
"This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine," said chief executive Stéphane Bancel, whose net worth has soared to more than $3bn (£2bn) as shares in Moderna continue to rise.
"We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalisations and death."
Although the trial will continue, the 196 cases assessed so far are enough from a regulatory and scientific standpoint to conclude the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and to apply for approval.
"The number of cases here are designed to be enough for full approval, not just emergency use authorisation," said Tal Zaks, chief medical officer at Moderna.
Emergency approval is granted in special circumstances and allows a regulator to give a drug a provisional green light while all the data and paperwork is being wrapped up.
Vaccine trials normally take two to three years to conclude because of the time it takes for participants to naturally contract the virus. The pandemic has helped speed up this process.
"Paradoxically, the worse it is out there, the quicker the trials read out," Mr Zaks said.
Some pharmaceutical companies have pledged to sell their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic. Moderna, however, aims to make money out of its vaccine.
"We are a biotech so for us there is an element of value here that it is right we retain," said Mr Zaks.
"It is clear if you do the maths, that the vast majority of the value from the vaccine will be given back to the population. The prices at which we are intending to sell this vaccine have been made public and they are comparable to prices of other diagnostic assets."
The UK government bought two million doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, taking the total order to seven million, but the price was not made public.
Covid is the ninth virus that Mr Zaks said Moderna has been successful in "generating neutralising antibodies against". He said the speed at which Moderna was able to create a vaccine for coronavirus meant it should, in principle be able to move even faster if future corona or flu viruses emerge. The coronavirus vaccine could eventually become an annual event, like the flu jab.
"Scientifically (mRNA technology) is exciting because it taps into the fundamental information flow of life and makes use of the information as a way to design a completely new class of medicines and with that it opens the door to types of drugs that weren’t possible before," he said.
"From an operational standpoint it is exciting because it can be done much faster and with smaller footprints than traditional technology, it has speed, scale and capital efficiency."
From a biological and clinical standpoint, Mr Zaks said mRNA vaccine technology was exciting because it teaches the body's own cells how to make the virus-busting protein in a way that is extremely accurate and, therefore potent, leaving little room for error.
Shares in Moderna have risen by 60pc to $142 since November 16.