Despite the spread of highly contagious variants, cases, hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19 have been falling across the country in recent days.
It’s great news for public health and the broader economy that’s been hobbled by this disease since the pandemic broke out the spring before last.
The U.S. has seen a total 45.3 million cases and total deaths of more than 733,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To put the latter figure into perspective – that’s greater than the total number of Americans who died from cancer last year, and it tops the estimated number of fatalities known to have occurred during the 1918 influenza pandemic.
So far, much of the success in preventing and reducing the spread of the virus — including more highly contagious variants like the Delta variant — can be attributed to a highly successful crop of vaccines that were produced by the biopharmaceutical industry’s top minds at lightning speed.
As of October 21, the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) has been the most widely administered in the U.S. by far, with nearly 241 million doses, compared to Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) with 154 million doses and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) with 15.3 million, according to Statista.
Currently, 57.4% of those eligible in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. And even though the U.S. got off to a head start with vaccinations, it has since lagged into 17th place on the world stage, trailing behind vaccination rates in countries like Portugal, Cuba, Cambodia, South Korea, Uruguay and Brazil.
Interestingly, since October began, the rate of vaccinations in the U.S. has dropped. The seven-day moving average of vaccine administration in the U.S. fell from about 919,000 on October 2 to about 639,000 on October 19, the latest date with relevant data, the CDC reported.
In fact, for the week ending October 19, about 78% more people — a daily average of about 340,000 people — got their booster shots after being fully vaccinated than those who got their first vaccine dose.
That figure is likely to tick up now that a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee approved Tuesday for emergency use authorization a smaller dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children ages five to 11.
The FDA is expected to make its final approval in the days ahead. Next week, the CDC’s advisory panel will meet to decide on additional recommendations about who should get the shot. Following that, the vaccine will soon be available to nearly everyone in the country except children four or younger.
The shots couldn’t come fast enough for some as the CDC reports that the incidence of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death is much higher among those who are unvaccinated than for those who are. In fact, in August, the CDC found those who were unvaccinated were 11-times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were fully vaccinated.
It’s also little wonder that worries about the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants has prompted the FDA and the CDC to authorize vaccine boosters to help keep the disease in check.
On October 20, the FDA expanded the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to allow for the so-called “mix and match” approach, where those who were fully vaccinated with one vaccine may choose to receive a booster of another.
The next day, Pfizer and BioNTech released data gathered while the Delta variant was prevalent that showed its third dose booster shot had a 95.6% efficacy rate against symptomatic COVID-19. The study was the first to test whether booster shots provided additional protection, and not just additional antibody levels in people.
“Based on these findings we believe that, in addition to broad global access to vaccines for everyone, booster vaccinations could play an important role in sustaining pandemic containment and a return to normalcy,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said.
There’s clearly significant profit potential for several biotech companies working on COVID-19 vaccines. But as I have said before, I believe BioNTech stands to be one of the biggest winners in the months ahead when you consider its fundamentals.
BNTX To Be One of the Biggest Vaccine Winners
Case in point: For the company’s second quarter, reported on August 9, it achieved total revenue of 5.31 billion euros, or $6.23 billion, up an eye-popping 12,634% from 41.7 million euros in the same quarter a year ago.
Second-quarter earnings came in at 2.78 billion euros ($3.37 billion), compared to an earnings loss of 88.3 million euros in the second quarter of 2020. Earnings per share came in at 10.77 euros, or $12.64 per share, topping estimates for 8.91 euros by 20.9%.
Company management also noted that it reached a major milestone, as it has supplied more than 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to countries around the world. But that’s just the beginning. Through its partnership with Pfizer, BioNTech has agreements for another 2.2 billion doses of the vaccine.
Looking ahead, this fundamentally superior company is expecting to bring in 15.9 billion euros ($18.63 billion) in revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine this year, up from a prior estimate of 12.4 billion euros.
BNTX is expected to release its third-quarter earnings results on November 9. Analysts are looking for earnings of $12.07 per share, an eye-popping 1,261% higher than last year. Anticipated revenue of $5.8 billion would be an incredible 6,278% higher than a year ago.
Of course, the company isn’t a one-trick pony, which is another reason why I like the stock. BioNTech is working with Pfizer to test variant-specific vaccines, which can be designed in a matter of days.
The companies are also preparing testing procedures like preclinical research, manufacturing, clinical testing and regulatory submission to get a head start should a variant-specific vaccine be needed. In August, the companies started a trial of a multivariant vaccine targeting both the Delta and Alpha variants, though they have no plans to release it to the public.
The company is also working on cancer treatments. In fact, it’s currently advanced 15 oncology product candidates in 18 ongoing clinical trials.
BioNTech is also working on a malaria vaccine for the African continent and anticipates starting a clinical trial by the end of 2022.
As you can see below, BNTX is a “Strong Buy” in my Portfolio Grader, with a Total Grade of “A,” and a Quantitative Grade of “A,” signaling institutional buying pressure under the stock.
The stock has consolidated gains after reaching a 52-week high of $464 on August 10 but has risen 12% since October 5 as investors weigh the potential for COVID-19 boosters and vaccines for children. So far this year, the stock has climbed an incredible 242%.
The bottom line is that BNTX has the regulatory chops and the superior fundamentals to keep trekking higher while the world combats COVID-19.
But it’s far from the only fundamentally superior stock on my radar right now. My Project Mastermind system found another fundamentally superior stock that is well-positioned to start firing on all cylinders. I will be releasing the name after the market close today, so if you’re interested, sign up here to get all the details.
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BioNTech SE (BNTX)
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