Biotech Stocks Take Center Stage On Pfizer’s Vaccine News
Biotech stocks certainly have had an interesting year so far. With the initial stock market crash in March 2020, things were certainly bleak. However, if you look at the S&P 500 Health Care index today, it is up by 47% since the March lows. This is an impressive feat and top biotech stocks no doubt played a huge role in the recovery of the stock market.
The biotech industry has also shown tremendous growth in recent years. Investors betting on biotech stocks will know that these stocks offer huge gains in the stock market. With every successful clinical trial, a biotech company’s value could skyrocket overnight. The same could be said that, if the clinical trial is not promising, it could send a company’s stock value plummeting. For example, Biogen’s (BIIB Stock Report) stock price jumped over 30% last week on possible drug approval. But the stock came tumbling down again this morning as the approval turns out to be more elusive than investors initially imagined. Similarly, shares of Cassava Sciences (SAVA Stock Report) have seen a fair amount of volatility this year. What appeared to be promising data initially can disappoint later, and vice versa.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the planet for almost a year now, biotech companies have been at the center of the vaccine race. The pandemic has infected over 50 million people and has already killed 1.2 million, so there is an utmost urgency for a cure. With so many exciting developments happening in the biotech industry, do you have this list of top biotech stocks on your watchlist?
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Top Biotech Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] In November: Pfizer Inc.
One of the leaders in the COVID-19 vaccine race is Pfizer (PFE Stock Report). The biotech giant today announced that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has achieved success in preventing 90% of infections. In a study with tens of thousands of volunteers, Pfizer is the first drugmaker to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, the company has said that it has found no serious safety concerns. The company also expects to seek U.S. emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this month.
This could be the glimmer of hope that the world desperately needs right now. Pfizer’s chairman Albert Bourla has summed it perfectly by saying “Today is a great day for science and humanity. We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity, and economies struggling to reopen.”
The company has partnered with German biotech company BioNTech SE (BNTX Stock Report) to develop this vaccine candidate. The efficacy rate is well above the 50% effectiveness that is required by the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. The company has enjoyed a 30% increase in share price since March and is currently valued at $38.78 as of 10.25 am ET. Pfizer in its third-quarter fiscal posted in October had reported a revenue of $12.1 billion. With such exciting news surrounding Pfizer, could PFE stocks be a top biotech stock to buy today?
Top Biotech Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] In November: Moderna
Another top contender in the vaccine race is Moderna (MRNA Stock Report). The company is also at the end of its Phase 3 clinical trials right now. To date, it has fully enrolled 30,000 participants which include 37% from diverse communities and 42% at high risk of severe disease. The company, like Pfizer, also uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology to develop its vaccine. The traditional method of creating vaccines would be to deliver a weakened form of the virus into the body. This allows the body to build up antibodies to fight the infection.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines utilize mRNA technology instead. These investigational vaccines use mRNA to deliver instructions to create a protein from the virus. This then allows the immune system to create antibodies to combat the protein. If successful, this would be the first vaccine in the world to utilize such revolutionary biotechnology. Operation Warp Speed is a government program that helps launch a vaccine into the market as soon as possible. The U.S. government in August had offered Moderna $1.5 billion for the manufacturing and delivery of its vaccine doses.
On top of that, Moderna has also signed several supply agreements with governments around the world. This allows Moderna to be able to effectively distribute its vaccine once it is granted emergency use authorization. The company has seen a staggering 276% increase year-to-date and is currently priced at $77.50 per share. Could MRNA stocks be on the rise given that it is almost at the end of the vaccine race?
Top Biotech Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] In November: AstraZeneca plc.
Last on this list would be AstraZeneca (AZN Stock Report). The pharmaceutical giant has been around since 1999 and is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company has also been at the center of attention for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. AstraZeneca has partnered with the University of Oxford to develop its vaccine.
The company has announced that its COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for large-scale vaccinations as early as this year. AstraZeneca is expecting to deliver its crucial Phase 3 clinical trial results in the coming weeks. The company also plans to seek emergency clearance before the end of the year. The Astra-Oxford candidate has so far produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly, those at the highest risk of severe illness. The company has enrolled about 23,000 volunteers globally and plans to reach 50,000 once the U.S. arm has completed recruitment.
The difference with AstraZeneca is that it has begun production of its COVID-19 vaccine ahead of its approval. An Australian company, CSL is making about 30 million doses of the Astra-Oxford vaccine. The company has taken the unusual step to ensure that the vaccine will be available in the short term upon approval of its vaccine candidate. AstraZeneca has enjoyed an increase of 49% in share price since the March lows and is now valued at $54.45 per share. With all this in mind, are AZN stocks on your watchlist?