The IDT Australia Limited (ASX: IDT) share price is shooting 25% higher after The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported the company is seeking to work with the federal government to produce mRNA vaccines in Australia.
At the time of writing, shares in the pharmaceutical company are trading for 46.5 cents each – up 25.68%.
Let's take a closer look at what's getting investors so excited.
IDT says it can manufacture mRNA vaccines in Australia
The COVID-19 pandemic has heralded the first wide-scale use of mRNA vaccines. The leading products in this space are the inoculations jointly produced by Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX), as well as the Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) jab.
In an effort to secure domestic supply through the production of the vector for single-strand RNA of viruses, the federal government has been in talks with the companies in a bid to secure a licence for their COVID vaccines to be made in Australia. As well as IDT, CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) is interested in the production of mRNA vaccines on our shores.
IDT says what differentiates its offer from CSL's is it will use existing manufacturing capabilities located near Melbourne's Monash University to make the product. CSL is proposing 2 new facilities for the endeavour, according to the SMH.
The prospect of IDT being awarded a lucrative government contract may be exciting investors, judging by the IDT share price rise.
"This is an established site with an established equipment train in it, which we will expand, and I think that gives us a material time advantage," IDT Chief Executive David Sparling is quoted in the SMH as saying.
"We've formed an alliance with numerous research bodies around the country, including Monash University, and that builds an ecosystem for mRNA."
Dr Sparling further went on to tell the paper his company could produce "100 million doses within 18 months."
IDT says it wants to build an mRNA research facility near its production site if it secures the licence to make the product. Dr Sparling did not reveal any financial details to the SMH.
Motley Fool Australia reached out to IDT for comment. Dr Spalding responded that the reports in the SMH are accurate and that he had nothing further to add beyond what was already in the public domain.
IDT share price snapshot
Over the past 12 months, the IDT share price has increased 141%. The company's shares faced a similar boom when IDT revealed it was in discussions with the Victorian government over a proposed mRNA vaccine plant.
IDT Australia has a market capitalisation of around $104 million.