Moderna Inc., a biotechnology company catapulted to fame after it produced a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine, is set to join the S&P 500 index, a seal of approval that will put the stock in countless index-tracking and actively managed funds and retirement accounts.
Shares of Moderna MRNA, +5.28% rallied 8% in the extended session Thursday after the announcement. The stock has gained 149% this year, compared with gains of 16% for the S&P 500 SPX, -0.33% in the same period.
Moderna will replace Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. ALXN, -3.27% at the opening on July 21, S&P Dow Jones Indices, the index manager, said in a statement.
Boston-area Moderna was a scrappy biotech startup relatively unknown before its successful COVID-19 vaccine, approved last year in the U.S. on an emergency basis for adults. The shot, like the one from Pfizer Inc. PFE, +0.35%, uses messenger-RNA technology. Both vaccines have shown efficacy of more than 90%.
AstraZeneca Plc. AZN, -4.75%, which also has developed a COVID-19 vaccine alongside Oxford University, is buying Alexion and the the $39 billion deal is expected to close soon. The companies announced the deal in December.