As the highly infectious Corona (COVID-19) pandemic wreaks havoc around the globe, its effects have been felt in almost every aspect of the economy. Behind the scenes, biotech companies are in a race against time to develop a vaccine for the pathogen. Many investors are now looking into investing in these companies.
As one of the world’s top vaccine developers, this British pharmaceutical conglomerate is among the companies in the spotlight. It is recognized as a leader in the development of innovative vaccines.
Among its top contributions to the world are the seasonal flu vaccine and the vaccine for Human Papilloma virus (HPV). At the moment, it is working together with Clover Biopharmaceuticals, a China-based biotech company.
Together, they are working on a protein-based vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
Under its vaccines division, Sanofi Pasteur, a French pharmaceutical giant is among the key contenders in the fight against Coronavirus. It is working in partnership with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
BARDA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), working under the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
They are both assessing a pre-clinical SARS vaccine as a likely candidate. The SARS vaccine candidate was developed in 2017. It could give the company an edge over rivals as SARS belongs to the Coronavirus family.
3. Johnson & Johnson
Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine department, has also been part of the ongoing race since January 2020. The American pharmaceutical has taken a multipronged approach in an attempt to win the race.
On one hand, it is screening its library of antiviral molecules to find a perfect fit for the new virus. And on the other, it is working on a vaccine using the same technology it previously developed for experimental Ebola vaccination.
Like Sanofi, it is also working with BARDA in an expanded collaboration.
4. Gilead Sciences
Well known for its Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) drugs, Gilead is already working on a treatment for COVID-19. Its Remdesivir drug is currently undergoing trials and has placed the company high on the list of the crème de la crème of pharmaceutical companies.
The drug was initially developed to treat the Ebola virus and is claimed to have helped one Coronavirus patient already in the US. Further testing has begun in China, and the company is set to initiate its own late-stage trials later this month.
5. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Regeneron is also working hand in hand with BARDA in an attempt to develop a treatment for new the virus. It is using an approach that had success in creating a drug for Ebola virus.
It involves exposing genetically-altered mice with human-like immune systems to Coronavirus proteins. The aim is to have the mice produce antibodies against the proteins. At the same time, they are using antibodies from people who have recovered from the disease.
From these, they plan to find the best two, which they can use to create a cocktail for treating the virus. According to the company, the drug should be ready for human testing by early summer.
COVID-19 Vaccine and the Stock Market
It is noteworthy that fears of the pandemic have triggered massive volatility in the stock market. While certain companies’ prices have plunged massively, others have soared. Among these are healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.
In view of the fact that these companies are working on treatments for the highly contagious virus, it stands to reason that their stocks hold the potential for significant gains. Amid the outbreak, their products are also enjoying higher levels of demand.
It is thus not surprising that many pharma stocks, such as GILD stock are on an uptrend, outperforming the S&P 500 since it began its downward trend in February.
When Will We Have A Coronavirus Vaccine?
According to the experts, it may take a while, at least a year or more, before the world actually gets a vaccine for the dreaded COVID-19.
Meanwhile though, adding these stocks to an investment watchlist is a great way to keep track of their movements as they gain ground in the development of a vaccine.
Where Can I Invest in Pharma Companies?
For U.S. customers, you can invest in pharmaceutical companies through Stash Invest, a no-commission stock broker offering pharma stocks from $5.
Based outside the U.S? We recommend Plus500, offering low spreads on pharma stock investments and a well-regulated platform.