Frontrunners Start To Emerge In The Race For A COVID-19 Vaccine
The title above is from a May 15, 2020 article in this weekend’s Barron’s by Josh Nathan-Kazis. I refer you to Barron’s for Mr. Kazis’s full article. The race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is as hot as the final lap at a NASCAR event. Mr. Kazis notes that “more than 100 different programs are underway to develop a COVID-19 vaccine,” with China trying to steal its way to the front. “Those companies with the first widely available COVID-19 vaccine, will prove the superiority of their science, manufacturing and technology on a global stage,” he added.
“Shares of smaller companies like Moderna (MRNA), Novavax (NVAX), and Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) have surged on investor enthusiasm for their respective COVID-19 vaccine progress,” Mr. Kazis wrote. But, investing in these same companies isn’t for the faint of heart; and their shares will likely suffer significantly if they fail to deliver. I have invested in, and currently own shares of Moderna and Novavax, but I watch them closely daily, and often have stop limits or market stops in place.
Mr. Kazis call the hares in this race, Moderna and Pfizer (among others), and the tortise the GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi collaboration.
The Leading Candidates (as listed by Barron’s/Mr. Kazis)
— Moderna (MRNA) with a drug in Phase I clinical trials, with Phase II trials set to begin before summer’s end. If successful, the company could receive emergency FDA approval this fall;
— Pfizer & BioNTech with a drug in Phase I clinical trials, and if successful could receive emergency FDA approval in October;
— Sanofi & GlaxoSmithKline have a drug scheduled to begin Phase 1 clinical trials this fall; and, if successful could receive emergency FDA approval in early 2021;
— Johnson & Johnson has a drug scheduled to begin Phase 1 clinical trials in September, and if successful, emergency FDA approval in early 2021;
— Oxford University & AstraZeneca have a drug in Phase 1 clinical trials and do not have a date set to begin Phase 2, nor a set-date goal for FDA approval;
— Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) is also in Phase 1; but does not have a date for Phase 2, nor a set goal for emergency FDA approval;
— Novavax (NVAX) is scheduled to begin Phase 1 clinical trials within days; and a goal of emergency FDA approval this fall — if the drug is succesf
There is a lot of good detail and background material describing the progress and efforts of all the above; and again, I refer you to this weekend’s Barron’s for additional detail. The good news is that we have multiple shots on goal; and, hopefully one or more of these drugs will pan out. If you do decide to invest in any of the above, make sure you do your own due diligence, understand your risk tolerance and time horizon, and consider placing stop limits, stop markets, or trailing stops, etc. on your positions. Otherwise, good luck. RCP, fortunascorner.com