3 Top Health Care Stocks To Watch In December 2021
As the broader stock market looks to end this rollercoaster ride of a week in the green, one fact remains. Namely, the Omicron Covid variant is the latest hurdle in the fight against the pandemic and health care stocks are once again in focus. Accordingly, this would be the case as more alarming updates continue to roll in. As of today, the World Health Organization (WHO) has detected this latest variant of concern in 38 countries worldwide.
Shedding some light on the overall situation now is WHO Covid technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove. To highlight, Van Kerkhove said, “There is a suggestion that there is increased transmissibility, what we need to understand is if it’s more or less transmissible compared to Delta”. While all this remains to be seen, some companies are already establishing early countermeasures. Notably, Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) subsidiary Google is one such company. As of yesterday, Google is scrapping its plans for a return to physical offices on January 10. Moreover, the tech giant is also adapting its search engine to better serve users’ health care needs. According to a recent blog post, Google Search now helps users find doctors and health care providers matching their insurance and language preferences.
For those looking to directly invest in companies fighting this battle on the frontlines, there are also several options. Among the most notable names would be BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), the titular Covid vaccine duo. In fact, BioNTech CEO Ugur Shin provided a positive update regarding the company’s Omicron variant response. Sahin notes that the firm can re-design its vaccine to better deal with the variant should it be necessary. On that note, here are three health care stocks gaining traction in the stock market today.
Top Health Care Stocks To Watch Right Now
Longeveron is a clinical-stage biotech company that develops cellular therapies for aging-related and life-threatening conditions. Its lead investigational product is Lomecel-B, which is derived from medicinal signaling cells (MSC). Accordingly, it believes that by using the same cells that promote tissue repair and organ maintenance, it can develop safe and effective therapies for some of the most difficult diseases and conditions associated with aging. As it stands, LGVN stock currently trades at $22.07 as of 1:13 p.m. ET and is up by over 22% on today’s opening bell.
Investors are likely responding to news that the FDA has granted orphan designation to Lomecel-B, as a treatment of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Also, orphan drug designation gives companies researching cures for rare diseases a seven-year window of tax reductions and the exclusive right to develop a cure for a specific condition. This builds on the incredible momentum that LGVN stock has enjoyed in the past month alone, gaining by over 480%.
Furthermore, the company announced that it has entered into a sponsored clinical research agreement with the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG) and Juntendo University Hospital in Japan. Together, they will explore the safety and efficacy of Lomocel-B on aging frailty patients. “We are excited to embark on this collaboration with the NCGG, one of the top advanced and specialized medical research centers in Japan, and Juntendo University Hospital,” said Geoff Green, Chief Executive Officer at Longeveron. “We believe our work could be especially impactful in Japan, which has one of the oldest and fastest aging populations in the world, and where early identification and intervention of frailty is a priority,” continued Mr. Green. Should you invest in LGVN stock right now?
Merck & Co Inc.
Following that, we have Merck, a health care company that has brought many life-changing medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Today, it continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten the globe. Hence, this would include the current Covid pandemic. MRK stock currently trades at $72.87 as of 1:13 p.m. ET.
On December 1, 2021, the company announced that the FDA has accepted for priority review, a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for VAXNEUVANCE for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in children 6 weeks through 17 years of age. Furthermore, the sBLA is supported by results from Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical studies in pediatric populations. Also, invasive pneumococcal disease can cause serious and potentially life-threatening infections in infants and children. Children under the age of 2 are particularly vulnerable to pneumococcal infection, and the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease remains highest in the first year of life.
Earlier in the week, Merck also announced a positive FDA advisory committee vote for its investigational oral antiviral molnupiravir for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid in high-risk adults. The positive outcome of the committee follows a comprehensive review of molnupiravir demonstrating a significant reduction in hospitalizations and death. This comes in a time where the Omicron variant could potentially bring about a new wave of cases across the globe. Given this piece of information, is MRK stock a buy today?
Last but not least, we will be taking a look at GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK for short. By and large, the U.K.-based firm is a titan in the global pharmaceuticals industry. As you can imagine, the company boasts a robust portfolio of products. All of which GSK markets via its pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer health care divisions. To point out, GSK stock now trades at $41.30 as of 1:13 p.m. ET. Among the company’s key areas of focus now would be its Covid antibody cocktail, sotrovimab. Through a partnership with Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ: VIR), GSK seems to be breaking new ground in the fight against Covid.
Just this week, the company provided several key updates regarding sotrovimab. For starters, the Covid treatment is reportedly effective against key mutations in the Omicron variant. While this is according to preclinical data, it is a welcomed piece of news from the company. Subsequently, the treatment was approved by the U.K. Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
If we take a deeper look into the data, the current success seen in GSK’s work is not unwarranted. According to CEO George Scangos, clinical data demonstrates a “79% reduction in hospitalizations for more than 24 hours or death in non-hospitalized patients”. Moving forward, Scangos adds that GSK is eager to provide sotrovimab to the NHS among other global health care divisions. With GSK seemingly firing on all cylinders now, would you consider GSK stock worth looking out for?