Shares of Ocugen (NASDAQ:OCGN) are surging in Wednesday’s pre-market trading after the Malvern, Pennsylvania biotech firm’s Indian collaborator reported positive interim results from the COVAXIN Phase 3 trials. OCGN stock was up more than 8.5% at 7:15 a.m. Eastern, poised to reverse nearly a week of declines.
As a quick refresher, Ocugen is a biotech company that has historically focused on treating rare vision conditions that cause blindness. However, sensing a major opportunity, it entered the Covid-19 vaccine race. Through a collaboration with Bharat Biotech, an Indian vaccine specialist, it is hoping to bring COVAXIN to the U.S. This is because Ocugen has signed an agreement to handle commercialization of the Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. pending approval.
Bharat earlier today said interim analysis results from a Phase 3 study found a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 78% against mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 disease. The efficacy against severe Covid-19 disease was 100%, with an impact on reduction in hospitalizations. The efficacy against asymptomatic Covid-19 infection was 70%, suggesting decreased transmission in COVAXIN recipients.
Healthcare services across India are close to collapse as a second coronavirus wave that started in mid-March tears through the country with devastating speed, CNN reported. India reported 295,041 cases of coronavirus and 2,023 deaths Wednesday, its highest rise in cases and highest death increase recorded in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Several million doses of COVAXIN have been supplied and administered in India and several other countries with an excellent safety record, evident by the minimal or lack of adverse events postimmunization,” Ocugen’s Hyderabad, India-based partner said in a release.
OCGN Stock News Comes as JNJ Vaccine Remains on Pause
Ocugen aims to launch the two-dose vaccine for the U.S. market in the second quarter of 2021. Chief executive Shankar Musunuri told Reuters last month that 100 million doses would be available after it gets clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
At this time, vaccines developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) have been cleared for emergency use. However, use of JNJ’s entry is on hold after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause following six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot. CDC vaccine advisers meet Friday to make recommendations on the JNJ version.
While the Ocugen-Bharat dosage showed an efficacy rate of 78%, it’s ahead of Johnson & Johnson’s 66% rate. Pfizer’s is 95%.Moderna’s is 94.1%.
The U.S. passed two significant milestones earlier this week On April 18, CDC data showed that more than half of all adults over the age of 18 had received at least one dose of vaccine. The next day, all people in the U.S. age 16 or older became eligible nationwide to receive a vaccine. Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post, a handful of states had significant spikes in Covid-19 cases over the past seven days, many up 15% or more from the previous week.
OCGN stock has lost 35.3% of its value in the past month. The share price in the last 52 weeks has ranged between 17 cents and $18.77 a piece.
On the date of publication, Robert Lakin did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
InvestorPlace contributor Robert Lakin is a veteran financial writer and editor, including previous stints with Bloomberg News, McKinsey & Co. and McDonald & Company Investments.