The race is on for a novel coronavirus vaccine — and vaccine stocks are in the spotlight.
More than 3 million people have been infected. More than 225,000 have already died around the world. In the United States alone, there are over 1 million cases. Over in Spain, almost 237,000. In Italy, over 203,000. And in Germany, it’s up to 161,000.
Schools and businesses have closed down. Stay-at-home orders are active around the U.S. Top retailers around the country are screening customers and employees before they’re even allowed in the store. Employees at Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), for example, will now have their temperatures taken before they start their day. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) is providing employees with thermometers to check on potential fevers at home
This is all in an effort to stop the coronavirus dead in its tracks. Some of the top vaccine stocks to consider include:
Vaccine Stocks: Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO)
When I first weighed in on Inovio Pharmaceuticals, I said it was becoming one of the top “must own” coronavirus stocks. That was on Jan. 30, as INO stock traded at just $4.86. Now, the stock is near to $13.30, and it’s far from being out of gas.
In fact, I still believe INO can break $20, near term. After getting the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early April, Inovio began vaccine trials on 40 adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City. There’s hope for more encouraging data from this human trial.
So far this is what the company says:
“To date, preclinical results for INOVIO’s COVID vaccine have been consistent with our completed Phase 1 vaccine study for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), also caused by a coronavirus, in which INOVIO’s DNA vaccine was well tolerated and induced high levels of antibody responses in 95% of subjects, while also generating broad-based T cell responses in nearly 90% of study participants.”
Should INO-4800 continue to show strong benefits, Inovio could move into Phase 2 quickly. From there, if the vaccine is successful, the company plans to have 1 million doses ready by year end.
Moderna is another explosive coronavirus candidate. Over the last several weeks, MRNA stock exploded from a February 2020 low of $17.91 to a recent high of $51.82.
Plus, the company just won $483 million in federal funding to accelerate development of an mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine.
“Under the terms of the agreement, BARDA will fund the advancement of mRNA-1273 to FDA licensure. A Phase 1 study of mRNA-1273 is being conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Phase 1 open-label study, which began on March 16, 2020 has completed enrollment of the original study: 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years in three dose cohorts…”
If that trial is successful, Moderna could move into Phase 2 trials soon, potentially with investigational new drug (IND) status. If MRNA stock can break above resistance, it could test $55 shortly.
Shares of BioNTech exploded from a March 2020 low of $28 to a current price above $49. From here, I’d like to see a test of $70.
This price action is all thanks to a collaboration with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). The two companies hope to advance multiple candidates into human trials based on BioNTech’s mRNA platform. From Pfizer:
“We believe that by pairing Pfizer’s development, regulatory and commercial capabilities with BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine technology and expertise as one of the industry leaders, we are reinforcing our commitment to do everything we can to combat this escalating pandemic, as quickly as possible.”
Better still, the two companies just received approval from Germany to begin the first clinical trials of a vaccine.
Ian Cooper, an InvestorPlace.com contributor, has been analyzing stocks and options for web-based advisories since 1999. As of this writing, Ian Cooper did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.