Arguably the most important thing in the world right now is finding a vaccine for the novel coronavirus pandemic — formally dubbed Covid-19. Given this reality, a group of “vaccine stocks” has emerged over the past few months. This group has rallied in an enormous way on hopes that one (or several) of these biotech companies will, once and for all, put the awful coronavirus crisis in the rear-view mirror.
When I say these coronavirus vaccine stocks have rallied in an enormous way, I mean enormous. Many of these stocks are up several hundred percent this year.
Needless to say, investors should be aware of these vaccine stocks. A successful and scalable coronavirus vaccine will change the world for the better. And the maker of that vaccine will turn into a hugely important company with a soaring stock price.
So, which biotech companies are in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine?
I’ve compiled a list of seven red-hot biotech stocks which are the leaders in the coronavirus vaccine race. Those sizzling vaccine stocks include:
- Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)
- Inovio (NASDAQ:INO)
- Dynavax (NASDAQ:DVAX)
- Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX)
- Sorrento (NASDAQ:SRNE)
- Arcturus (NASDAQ:ARCT)
- iBio (NYSEMKTS:IBIO)
With all of that in mind, let’s dive in.
Red-Hot Vaccine Stocks: Moderna (MRNA)
Year-to-Date Performance: +188.5%
Widely considered to be the unparalleled leader in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, Moderna has seen its share price soar a whopping 192% year-to-date to all time highs.
Early on in the fight against the pandemic, Moderna developed a patented potential vaccine — dubbed mRNA-1273 — on top of its signature messenger RNA technology. Ever since mRNA-1273 was first developed, the potential vaccine has been on an encouraging fast track. In fact, its winning multiple approvals and reporting strong early trial results.
Most recently — and most importantly — Moderna reported encouraging preliminary results from a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-led Phase 1 trial of mRNA-1273, wherein the vaccine went essentially 45 for 45 in seroconverting subjects (aka, it worked perfectly).
However, STAT News — citing multiple field expert — has since questioned the robustness of those results.
But the bigger picture idea here is that Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine is the leading candidate for a coronavirus vaccine, and it continues to separate itself from the competition. So long as these two things remains true, red-hot MRNA stock will remain red-hot.
Year-to-Date Performance: +312%
Much like Moderna, San Diego-based Inovio responded to the Covid-19 crisis early on. And as a result, it is now considered one of the leaders in the coronavirus vaccine race.
Specifically, in early January, Inovio reportedly developed its potential vaccine candidate — INO-4800 — in just three hours after Chinese scientists released the genetic sequence for Covid-19. INO-4800 has since been on a blazing growth trajectory.
Most recently, Inovio reported encouraging pre-clinical data for INO-4800, wherein INO-4800 demonstrated “robust neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2”. Moreover, Phase 1 clinical trial is expected in June. Management hopes to progress INO-4800 to large-scale Phase 2/3 trials this summer, and produce one million doses of INO-4800 by the end of the year.
Therefore, because of INO-4800’s favorable trajectory — and bullish commentary about volume production potential from management — INO stock is up a whopping 309.7% in 2020. So long as INO-4800 keeps knocking it out of the park, INO stock will remain on fire.
Year-to-Date Performance: -14.8%
Sure, DVAX stock struggled the past week or so. However, that is likely due to dilution fears after the company announced it issued more than 16 million new shares of common stock on Thursday. That said, this just makes a great entry point for potential vaccine stock investors.
Through a series of collaborations and partnerships, biopharmaceutical company Dynavax has plunged itself into the the thick of the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Back in early March, Dynavax announced that they were working with the University of Queensland to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Towards the end of the month, Dynavax announced two more partnerships to develop a Covid-19 vaccine — one with China-based biotech company Clover, and another with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Additionally, two more similar coronavirus vaccine development partnerships were announced in April.
Most recently, though, Dynavax announced that one or more of these development partnership initiatives will spill into Phase 1 clinical trials by July. In other words, Dynavax has amassed a portfolio of potential Covid-19 vaccines. Over the next few months, we will see if these vaccines work, or not.
If they do, DVAX stock will soar. If they don’t, however, the stock could give back all of its gains since March.
Year-to-Date Performance: +1,037.7%
Overall, the hottest Covid-19 vaccine stock of 2020 has been Novavax.
NVAX stock is up more than 1,000% YTD as optimism regarding a potential coronavirus vaccine from this company has converged on the reality that, not too long ago, this was a really small company with not many upside drivers.
Novavax is a vaccine developer, so creating vaccines is what they do. As such, as soon as reports started to emerge of a new virus in China in early January, NVAX stock started moving higher on the idea that Novavax could develop a vaccine for that virus.
That virus has since grown into a global pandemic. And Novavax has committed all of its resources to fighting this pandemic, with stakes getting higher and higher by the day.
That said, the vaccine developer has created a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. The Phase 1 trial of that vaccine candidate was initiated in May, and preliminary results are expected by July.
If those results are good, then NVAX stock will sustain its current strength. But, much like many of the other vaccine stocks on this list, bad clinical data could kill Novavax stock.
Year-to-Date Performance: +47.7%
Relatively new to the Covid-19 vaccine race, Sorrento burst onto the scene in mid-May with arguably the boldest claim Wall Street has heard yet with respect to a coronavirus vaccine: we may have a cure.
Specifically, the California-based biopharmaceutical company claims that they have discovered an antibody — STI-1499 — which shields the human body from Covid-19 and flushes it out of a person’s system within four days. Management said in a recent interview that they expect the FDA to sign-off and start clinical trials on this supposed “cure” within the next 2-3 months.
SRNE stock jumped 200% in response to the news.
The stock has since given up a big chunk of those gains on an enormous amount of skepticism from the outside world. Arguably the most stinging of that skepticism has come from Hindenberg Research, who announced that they are short SRNE stock on the idea that STI-1499 cure claims are “sensational”.
So, which way Sorrento stocks goes next depends on whether or not those claims are sensational. If STI-1999 is indeed a cure, the sky is the limit here. If those cure claims are sensational, the ground floor is the next step.
Year-to-Date Performance: +257%
Much like Moderna, clinical-stage biotech company Arcturus has leveraged messenger RNA technology to develop its own Covid-19 vaccine candidate: LUNAR-COV19.
Over the past month, a plethora of positive LUNAR-COV19 data has emerged — sparking a huge rally in ARCT stock (which is up more than 250% in 2020).
If this positive data holds up in clinical trials throughout the summer, then red-hot ARCT stock will remain red-hot. However, bad clinical data will cause Arcturus stock to plunge back to early 2020 levels.
Year-to-Date Performance: +540%
Last, but not least, on this list of red-hot Covid-19 vaccine stocks is iBio.
iBio is a nano-cap bio-pharmaceutical company which uses a technique called FastPharming to develop antibodies, other therapeutic proteins and vaccines from plants. It’s an interesting concept. And because of this interesting concept, iBio has turned into one of Wall Street’s favorite vaccine stocks.
The idea is simple: iBio is developing a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. If that vaccine works, iBio is best positioned to quickly scale production and distribution of a vaccine, because of its FastPharming system which saves drug production time by relying on plants as opposed to other, rarer raw materials.
Indeed, that’s why iBio believes that, if its Covid-19 vaccine gets the nod from the FDA, they can manufacture 500 million doses of the vaccine at its Texas site — a number which dwarfs what everyone else in the industry has put forth.
As such, if iBio’s vaccine does work and gets FDA approval, IBIO stock could continue on its meteoric rise.
Luke Lango is a Markets Analyst for InvestorPlace. He has been professionally analyzing stocks for several years, previously working at various hedge funds and currently running his own investment fund in San Diego. A Caltech graduate, Luke has consistently been recognized as one of the best stock pickers in the world by various other analysts and platforms, and has developed a reputation for leveraging his technology background to identify growth stocks that deliver outstanding returns. Luke is also the founder of Fantastic, a social discovery company backed by an LA-based internet venture firm. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.