Big Pharma and the Coronavirus Vaccine


There are currently 548,000 active cases of the coronavirus and over 191,000 closed cases. Of those with outcomes, nearly 156,000 of those infected have recovered, while over 35,000 deaths have been reported.

The quickest, most effective solution to this situation is to find a vaccine.

Below are some healthcare companies with prospects at crafting a vaccine to deal with this novel coronavirus and where they stand today.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is the newest healthcare company to join the fight against the coronavirus. This pharmaceutical giant has announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs that it has been working on since January 2020.

This comes with the significant expansion of the existing partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), as well as the rapid scaling of the company’s manufacturing capacity with the goal of providing global supply of more than a billion doses of a vaccine. The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the 1st batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early Y 2021, a substantially accelerated time frame in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.

Johnson & Johnson stock traded up about 6% at $130.92 Monday morning, in a 52-wk trading range of 109.16 – 154.50. The consensus price target is at 159.18.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) stock made a handy gain after the US Food and Drug Administration used its emergency authorization to approve Abbott’s testing kit. This test is capable of detecting positive coronavirus results in as little as 5 mins. The company plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting on 1 April.

The test works by taking a swab from the nose or the back of the throat, then mixing it with a chemical solution that breaks open the virus and releases its RNA. The mixture is inserted into an ID Now system, a small box weighing just under seven pounds that has the technology to identify and amplify select sequences of the coronavirus genome and ignore contamination from other viruses.

Abbott Laboratories stock was up about 7.5%, at 80.28, and has a 52-wk range of 61.61 – 92.45. The consensus price target is at 98.27.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) announced over the weekend that it will stop considering individual emergency requests for its experimental coronavirus drug, except in certain circumstances, as it grapples with overwhelming demand.

The move is part of Gilead’s overhaul of the process for doctors requesting emergency use of the experimental drug remdesivir outside of clinical trials. Gilead said it is making the changes because it can’t handle all the requests it is receiving, and it hopes the revamp eventually will speed up its development process.

Gilead Sciences stock up about 4% at 75.99 Monday, in a 52-wk range of 60.89 – 85.97. The consensus price target is at 74.91.

Novartis A.G. (NYSE:NVS) said over the weekend that its malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, is the drugmaker’s biggest hope against COVID-19. As a result, its CEO has pledged to donate 130-M does and is supporting clinical trials needed before the medicine can be approved for use against the coronavirus.

Other companies, including Bayer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA), have also agreed to donate hydroxychloroquine or similar drugs.

Novartis stock traded up about 3% at 81.75, in a 52-wk trading range of 69.18 – 99.84. The consensus price target is at 102.67.

Teva stock was up about 7.5%, at 8.14 in a 52-wk range of 6.07 – 15.86. The consensus price target is at 11.67.

Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) have expanded a clinical trial of their rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara as a coronavirus treatment. The trial is now including patients outside the United States, after beginning in America last week.

They said that they have treated the 1st patient outside the United States in a trial within a global clinical program. Kevzara is currently in a multicenter double-blind Phase 2/3 trial with patients in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, Russia and the United States.

Sanofi stock was trading up 4% at 44.15. The 52-wk trading range is at 37.62 – 51.84, and the consensus price target is at 56.88.

Regeneron stock was up about 4% to 469.49. The 52-wk trading range is 271.37 – 518.00, and the consensus price target is at 474.96.

Have a healthy day, stay home!

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