As lives and economies continue to be disrupted at a global scale, pressure mounts to find a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, hundreds of organizations have taken up the challenge of developing a vaccine — but only a handful of candidates have reached Phase 3 trials.
Wednesday, December 2: The UK becomes the first country to approve Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use, with vaccine distribution expected for the following week.
Tuesday, December 1: Advisors to the Center for Disease Control recommended that the first doses of any COVID-19 vaccine should be given to health-care workers and workers in nursing homes and other care facilities, according to news reports.
Monday, November 30: Moderna files for emergency authorization of its vaccine, and the Washington Post reports that 40 million dose of COVID-19 vaccines could be distributed by year’s end.
Monday, November 23: AstraZeneca announces its vaccine is 70% effective based on preliminary Phase 3 trial data.
Wednesday, November 18: Pfizer releases final data from its Phase 3 study and amends the efficacy rate of its vaccine, stating its vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Monday, November 16: Moderna announces its vaccine is 94.5% effective based on late-stage trial data.
Monday, November 9: Pfizer announces an early analysis of its two-dose vaccine is over 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Do any companies have a vaccine ready?
As of November 2020, the WHO’s draft landscape of COVID-19 vaccines includes 155 candidates in preclinical evaluation and 47 candidates in clinical trials. Of the 47 vaccines in clinical trials, only 10 have reached Phase 3 trials.
Of the 10 vaccines on the frontline, 4 are being developed in China, 1 is in Russia and several others are in the US or from multinational organizations. Not all are publicly listed, although most (aside from Russian Gamaleya Research Institute) have partnered with a listed company.
What are Phase 3 trials?
Phase 3 allows organizations to begin testing on large numbers of people – typically tens or hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world. It’s the final major hurdle before approval can be granted for licensing.
Unfortunately, this process can’t be rushed. Despite promises made by President Donald Trump of a vaccine being made available in 2020, Phase 3 trials typically take many months — even years — to complete. Only one vaccine is expected to complete its testing by 2021. The remaining vaccines expect to conclude their Phase 3 testing between 2022 and 2023.
Can I invest in COVID-19 vaccine stocks?
Yes. As long as the company developing the vaccine is a publicly-traded entity, investors can back as many COVID-19 vaccine candidates as they like.
As far as stock performance goes, many have seen staggering success. British firm NovaVax has seen its stock price rise 2,400%, while US biotech Moderna has risen 267% and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino Biologics is up 167%.
With so much resting on a cure, it makes sense that investors are bullish. But with so many companies joining the hunt – many of which have only recently listed – it’s not always easy to work out which ones have the most or the least potential.
Below are the 10 publicly listed companies whose vaccine candidates have reached Phase 3 testing.
Note: Study completion dates are estimates made by the researchers at the time they started the study, as published by WHO.
Pfizer Inc is a US pharmaceutical company. It has partnered with German biotech company BioNTech and Chinese pharmaceutical firm Fosun Pharma to trial and manufacture a vaccine candidate.
YTD performance (to September 29th): -7.12%
Market capitalization: $209,738,809,344
Study start date: April 29, 2020
Estimated completion date: November 14, 2022
Status: Phase 3 trials
4. Sinopharm (HKEX: 1099)
Sinopharm Group is a Chinese pharmaceuticals company currently trialing two vaccine candidates in partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. Both vaccines are in Phase 3 human testing as of September.
Moderna is an American biotechnology company. In April 2020, it received a $483 million grant from the US government to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In August 2020, it entered Phase 3 human trials.
YTD performance (to September 29th): 266.87%
Market capitalization: $64,031,928,320
Study start date: July 27, 2020
Estimated completion date: October 27, 2022
Status: Phase 3 trials
6. CanSino Biologics (HKEX: 6185)
CanSino Biologics is a Chinese vaccine maker working in partnership with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology to trial a COVID-19 vaccine. Governments in Mexico, Pakistan and Russia have all agreed to begin Phase 3 testing using CanSino’s vaccine candidate.
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Shannon Terrell is a senior writer for Finder who has written over 400 personal finance guides. With a focus on investments and personal finance, she breaks down jargon-laden topics to help others make informed financial decisions. She studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto.
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