- COVID-19 created a significant opportunity for healthcare players – Develop a vaccine or treatment for the pandemic to tap a market which didn’t even exist a few months ago.
- Pfizer’s stock was up ~3% in the last three months; On 1 July, the Company disclosed positive preliminary findings from an ongoing Phase 1/2 trial.
- Moderna’s share price rose 106% from March 2020, after commencing the development of its vaccine candidate.
- AstraZeneca has gained ~22% in three months, driven by the late-stage study of its candidate.
- In the previous 3-months share price of Novavax skyrocketed by 475%; vaccine candidate under Phase 1/2 trial.
- INOVIO Pharmaceuticals’ share price enormously rose by 162.4% in last three months; Phase 2/3 efficacy trial likely to begin in summer.
COVID-19 has had spill-over effects on the share markets across the globe. Black swan events like COVID-19 pandemic, terrorist attacks and other epidemics, cause shock, fear and panic among investors and the outcome is panic-selling of the shares.
SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 10.5 million people and nearly 512,311 deaths reported across the world as per information provided by WHO (as of 10:58 AM CEST on 2 July 2020). The massive numbers indicate that a vaccine is urgently needed to save lives as well as livelihood.
HAVE YOU READ: COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Where Do We Stand?
The disastrous condition generated by COVID-19 turmoil gives a distinctive prospect to determine the effect of an unforeseen and dreaded infection on the world economy.
However, for some healthcare sector companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a boon. The respective share prices have risen sharply in the last 3-4 months for companies that are involved in the development of treatment, vaccine development, and other preventive measures such as sanitisers, mask, PPE kits etc. to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Let us discuss Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax & INOVIO Pharmaceuticals.
Pfizer and BioNTech Revealed Early Positive Results from Phase 1/2 Study of mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b1
In the previous 3-months stock price of Pfizer increased by ~3%. On 1 July 2020, Pfizer’s stock last quoted at US$33.74 climbed by 3.18% from its previous close. The market cap of the Company stood at US$187.42 billion.
Pfizer is developing COVID-19 vaccine with BioNTech SE which is a pioneer in developing innovative cancer therapies, both the companies are studying four investigational vaccine candidates from their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program each vaccine candidate represents a distinctive combination of mRNA format and target antigen.
On 1 July 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech disclosed favourable preliminary outcome from ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial of BNT162b1 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 RBD (receptor binding domain).
The data gives a preliminary indication that BNT162b1, targeting the RBD SARS-CoV-2, can produce neutralising antibody responses in humans at or beyond the levels seen in convalescent sera.
The ongoing US study, which is a placebo-controlled, randomised, observer-blinded trial, is assessing the safety, tolerability as well as immunogenicity of increasing dose levels of BNT162b.
Moderna’s Share Price Rose by 106% since March 2020
From March 2020, after commencing the development of its COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273, the share price of Moderna rose by nearly 106%. On 1 July 2020, MRNA stock last quoted at US$61.59, falling by 4.08% from its previous close. The market capitalisation of MRNA stood at US$22.8 billion.
Moderna was the first healthcare to commence human clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine in March 2020. Clinical-stage biotech player Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) pleased investors after revealing encouraging results from Phase 1 clinical trial and then it swiftly moved on to Phase 2, and pledged to commence Phase 3 clinical trials in July 2020.
Recently on 25 June 2020, Moderna and Catalent disclosed a partnership for large-scale, fill-finish manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Moderna. With this agreement, Catalent will offer vial filling along with packaging facility, and extra employees required for continuous (24x7) production operations at the site to provide support for manufacturing initial 100 million doses of the Moderna’s vaccine candidate to supply across the United States market from the 3rd quarter of 2020.
Trial of COVID-19 vaccine by Oxford and AstraZeneca Commenced in Brazil
The share price of AstraZeneca climbed by 21.85% in the last three months. On 1 July 2020, the stock last quoted at US$53.32 up by 0.81% from its previous close.
On 30 April 2020, Oxford University and AstraZeneca disclosed an agreement for the global development & distribution of potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine manufactured by Oxford University for preventing COVID-19. Initially, the vaccine was named as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and now it is known as AZD1222.
On 29 June 2020, the University disclosed that in Brazil Volunteers have started receiving a trial vaccine against COVID-19 in Latin America’s first Phase 3 clinical study. Moreover, this trial officially commenced on 20 June 2020, and nearly 5k volunteers will be enrolled across the country.
Novavax’ Share Price Skyrocketed by 475% in the last three months
The share price of Novavax rocketed by ~475% in the previous three months. On 1 July 2020, NVAX stock closed the day’s trade at US$79.70 up by 4.38% from its previous close. The market cap of the Company stood at US$4.6 billion.
Late-stage biotechnology company Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) is developing a vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373 against COVID-19. In May-end, Novavax initiated Phase 1/2 clinical study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and notified that preliminary data for immunogenicity and safety from the Phase 1 segment is projected in July 2020.
Notably, Novavax affirmed that it would begin Phase 2 segment quickly once successful results from Phase 1 clinical trials are obtained.
Share Price of INOVIO Pharmaceuticals zoom up 162.4% in last three months
The share price of INOVIO Pharmaceuticals soared by 162.4% in the previous three months. On 1 July 2020, it was last quoted at US$19.73 declining by 26.79% from its previous close. The market cap of INO was noted at US$3.1 billion.
INOVIO Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) is developing a DNA based COVID-19 vaccine, named as INO-4800.
On 30 June 2020, INOVIO Pharmaceuticals revealed promising preliminary data from its Phase 1 clinical trial with nearly 94% of the participant showing immune responses at week 6, after two doses of the vaccine candidate.
INO-4800 was found to be safe and well-tolerated without any serious adverse events. The Company notified that it aims to begin Phase 2/3 efficacy clinical trial during the summer subject to regulatory approval.