After a smaller study showed that it increased patients' chances of surviving an aggressive type of skin cancer

Merck and Moderna are conditioning to begin the first phase of the third trial of a messenger RNA cancer vaccine.

The threat of death or replication of melanoma in high-risk patients was 44% lower with the combination of Keytruda immunotherapy medication from Merck and Moderna's experimental cancer vaccine, according to data released by the company on Tuesday.

Shares of Moderna jumped more than 24% on Tuesday after the company announced promising results from a cancer treatment trial in combination with Keytruda.

The company said results from a 150-week volunteer study revealed that using Moderna's personalized cancer vaccine alongside Merck's Keytruda reduced risk for patients by roughly 44%, compared to just using Keytruda alone.

The two companies plan to run a larger study next year for further research, and also said they plan to test the combined therapies against other forms of cancer.

Moderna's CEO, Stephane Bancel, claimed that the outcomes had given Merck and Moderna the confidence to start the more extensive phase 3 trial regulators frequently require before approving a new medication.

Most medications that are successful in Phase 2 research go on to fail in the later stages of testing. The firms will also test the combination on other cancer types.