Vaccine Wars: The Race to Defeat COVID-19
In his 2020 prediction article last year, Brian Christopher said this would be a big year for biotech stocks.
He explained that many Wall Street firms were piling into the biotech sector, noting they were investing more money in this group of stocks than any other.
Brian’s two stock recommendations in that article, United Therapeutics Corp. (Nasdaq: UTHR) and Atara Biotherapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ATRA), are up 56% and 39%, respectively, since the beginning of the year.
However, Brian couldn’t have predicted that COVID-19 would emerge in 2020 and determine biotech’s biggest winners.
And Moderna Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA), which announced strong results for its COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, is up 405% since the start of the year.
Today, I’m going to take a closer look at the race to defeat COVID-19.
The Whole World Is Waiting for a Vaccine
On November 9, Pfizer announced that the vaccine it co-developed with BioNTech was more than 90% effective.
The success of the vaccine sent ripples throughout the stock market. Many investors believed that the world could begin to go back to normal soon.
As Ian King pointed out in his Monday article:
The Pfizer news sent shares of Planet Fitness Inc. (NYSE: PLNT) up 16%.
Mall real estate investment trust Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) climbed 29%.
And movie theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) stock was up nearly 50%.
Pfizer’s latest results, revealed on Wednesday, show that the vaccine is 95% effective and has no serious side effects. The company filed for an emergency use authorization on Friday.
But there’s a lot of hype right now for Moderna’s vaccine as well, which has been 94.5% effective in clinical trials.
The biggest drawback of Pfizer’s vaccine is that it must be stored at an extremely low temperature (94 degrees below zero, to be exact).
That means it will have to be transported in specialized freezers, which will be both burdensome and expensive.
On the other hand, Moderna’s vaccine only needs to be stored at 4 degrees below zero, which is about the temperature inside your freezer at home.
That will make it the more practical option in many cases, such as at smaller clinics and in rural areas.
The Battle Will Continue Into 2021
Wall Street doesn’t seem to have a clear favorite yet.
Pfizer’s stock is basically flat this week, and Moderna’s stock cooled off after shooting up 12.3% on Monday morning.
AstraZeneca PLC (Nasdaq: AZN) is another challenger to look out for.
The British biopharmaceutical giant released data on Thursday that shows encouraging results for its vaccine. The final stage of AstraZeneca’s clinical trials is expected to be finished by Christmas.
Pfizer said it could produce up to 1.3 billion doses globally by 2021, while AstraZeneca and Moderna each said they could create up to 1 billion doses.
But no matter which company wins the vaccine war in 2021, it’s guaranteed to be a remarkable year.
That’s why our experts at Smart Profits Daily are presenting their big, bold predictions for 2021 next week.
Our special series will cover topics ranging from the Chinese economy to Wall Street’s most-hated stocks, and will also have a new biotech recommendation from Brian Christopher.
So check back on Monday as Ian King kicks off the week with his top predictions for 2021.
Assistant Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing