Biotech Stocks to Watch during COVID-19 vaccine race
The corona situation is getting worst day by day in the world. Lockdown still continues in many countries across the globe. The virus has infected more than 2 million people leaving around 120,000 people dead. Currently, a lot of companies involved in the development of the coronavirus vaccine. The pharmaceutical companies continue the race to be the first to license a COVID-19 vaccine and some of them have already made great progress, while others are at the very beginning of the race. Every company is using different technology platforms to create experimental vaccines.
Biotech stocks are consistently profitable in the last few weeks as hopes that the drug makers may be close to a treatment for the coronavirus. According to WHO, there are 70 vaccines under development.
Here are are the 6 important Biotech stocks that we think the investors should watch now. We expect huge volatility in these stocks as investors speculate as to whether these companies will come out on top for a vaccine.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) — Gilead’s remdesivir
Gilead’s shares surged last week after a report showing early data suggests that coronavirus patients are responding to its remdesivir. Remdesivir has shown some promise in treating SARS and MERS, which are also caused by coronaviruses. According to science and medical news website STAT suggesting that Gilead’s remdesivir may be effective at treating patients hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19. Gilead has already been ramping up production of remdesivir. The data released by the company earlier this month indicated that had targeted 1.5 million individual dosages of the IV-drug that could treat more than 140,000 patients.
Gilead’s stock climbed 12% higher on Friday, April 18 to $85.79 after an encouraging report from STAT. The stock closed Friday at $83.85.
Johnson & Johnson, Inc. (NYSE: JNJ)
J&J shares trade higher last few weeks after the recent reports the company expects to enter human trials by September. The investors are very much confident that the healthcare giant is moving quickly to reach the result. Johnson & Johnson says it aims to have more than half a billion coronavirus vaccines ready early next year. The pharmaceutical giant will have 600 million to 800 million vaccines available in early 2021.
The lab developed a vaccine in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos., the drug-making arm of Johnson & Johnson. It plans to launch clinical trials in the fall as part of a joint $1 billion collaboration agreement announced by the U.S. government and Johnson & Johnson on March 30. J&J also plans to set up a new manufacturing facility in the US to supplement the company’s plant in the Netherlands that can produce up to 300 million doses.
On last Tuesday, April -14 Johnson & Johnson shares climbed 4.5% after reporting a stronger profit for the first three months of the year than Wall Street expected.
GlaxoSmithKline plc. (LON: GSK) and Sanofi ( EPA: SAN)
Pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) joined hands to speed up and develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19 disease. Sanofi will contribute its S-protein COVID-19 antigen, which is based on recombinant DNA technology while GSK will contribute its proven pandemic adjuvant technology.
The vaccine is expected to enter clinical trials in the second half of 2020. If successful, it would be available in the second half of 2021, the two companies said in a statement. Shares of Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline rose 3.6% and 3.7%, respectively, following the announcement.
Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE)
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) shares ended higher last week after the company announced that it identified a lead drug to treat COVID-19. Pfizer announced in March that it’s teaming up with BioNTech on development of the mRNA vaccine for immunizing against the novel coronavirus. Following this March 17 announcement, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) stock soared 66.5%, while Pfizer surged 6.6%. As per the recent update, they’re pushing up their schedule with BioNTech and possibly starting human trials in August.
Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA)
Shares of Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) rose 15% on last Thursday after they received $483 million funding to speed up the development of coronavirus vaccine. MRNA shares hiked 15% and the stock hit an all-time intraday high of $49. As few of already know Moderna became the first drugmaker with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine to begin clinical testing in humans in the U.S.
Moderna began Phase 1 human trials of its potential vaccine on March 16 in the Seattle area. They partnered with NIH (the National Institutes of Health) on the development of its COVID-19 vaccine; Moderna recently completed enrollment in a phase 2 study for the vaccine. It hopes to report interim results from the study in the third quarter of 2020.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO)
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO) shares have surged 109% since the beginning of the year on optimism about the company’s work on a vaccine for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The company partnered with Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company to develop its COVID-19 vaccine, INO-4800, which is now being tested on humans.
According to a press release from INO, the company just received $6.9 million of funding to work with the Korea National Institute of Health for phase 1 and phase 2 trials of its COVID-19 vaccine.
“Medical companies worldwide are tirelessly working to develop vaccines and treatment for COVID-19. We expect a further upside strength in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors during this crisis. But as we know these experimental drugs are in the early stages and there is no guarantee that these drugs will achieve the FDA approval. The good news is the number of biotech firms already received the support of government funding.”
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