Happy Monday, readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
A trio of companies developing coronavirus vaccines saw their stocks jump on a mix of good news.
The most prominent of the group is Pfizer, which is aligned with German biotech BioNTech on a number of vaccine candidates. On Monday, the firms announced that two of those experimental COVID vaccines had been granted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-track designation, which speeds up the regulatory process for a drug candidate. Pfizer stock promptly jumped 5% in Monday trading, a massive advance for a company with nearly $200 billion in market value. Shares of the much smaller BioNTech shot up 15%.
“We look forward to continue working closely with the FDA throughout the clinical development of this program, Project Lightspeed, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these vaccine candidates,” said Peter Honig, Pfizer’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs, in a statement.
These vaccine candidates rely on an mRNA technology platform, which uses an essential biological building block in order to induce cells to create other biological materials (typically proteins) that can help guard against pathogens like the coronavirus.
Which brings us to the third company which saw a hefty market cap boost, albeit for a different reason. The bitoech startup Moderna Therapeutics, which doesn’t have any approved treatments yet but is one of the leaders in the COVID-19 vaccine space, spiked nearly 20% after Jeffries analyst Michael Yee projected that the treatment could bring in more than $5 billion in annual sales.
“We believe the Street will be surprised to the upside if the Covid-19 vaccine works, gets approved by early 2021, and there are multi-billion dollars of purchase orders from USA and around the world,” he wrote in an investor note.
The flipside, as Yee himself admits, is that those are a whole lot of “ifs.”
Read on for the day’s news.