Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Coronavirus stocks working on COVID-19 cures and treatments
Could one of these biotechs be the gold mine of the decade?
It probably comes as no surprise that some of the best performing (albeit volatile) stocks of the last few weeks are companies that claim to be hunting for the COVID-19 cure.
The reason for this is two-fold. First, biotechs and health companies are among the sectors that will always be needed, even during a recession. This means they’re likely to be less impacted than other sectors in the long term.
The other side is that investors know that finding a COVID-19 cure is akin to hitting a gold mine.Just to be clear, no-one knows whether a cure will be found any time soon. No cure has been found for either MERS or SARS to date, despite several years since their outbreak.
Yet COVID-19 is a threat unlike any we’ve faced. The global rallying effort might prove to be more successful than previous ventures. If you’re among the hopefuls, below is a list of some of the companies leading the way in a search for the COVID-19 cure.
You’ll notice many are US-listed – South African researchers are largely part of unlisted organisations, although there are a few listed small-caps that are working on the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.
1. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD)
Gilead is a biopharmaceutical company listed on the NASDAQ that researches, develops and produces new medicines for life threatening illnesses.
Its stock price jumped in March after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave it the green light for funding towards one of its experimental drugs (and touted potential cure) Remdesivir. It’s set to start enrolling test patients in March, with results out by May.
2. Atomo Diagnostics (ASX: AT1)
Atomo Diagnostics is an Australian medical device company working on the development and commercialisation of COVID-19 testing kits.
It made waves mid April as one of the rare 2020 listings on the ASX, immediately jumping over 100% from its IPO price of 20 cents to 52 cents within its first 2 days.
According the company, it pivoted from producing HIV testing kits – which requires a pin prick of blood and takes just 15 minutes for results to show – to COVID-19 kits once the pandemic struck. While still in talks with US and Australian healthcare companies, it has entered an agreement for the sale of 947,200 test kits to French diagnostics company NG Biotech.
The company also gets props as being part of Global Health Investment Fund portfolio headed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Johnson & Johnson is well known for providing household healthcare products, but it also works in medicinal research and development.
In late January it announced it was working towards the development of a vaccine for COVID-19 through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies while collaborating with healthcare regulators. While the company’s share price has fallen around 20% since the February peak along with other major companies, in the last week it has rebounded by more than 10%.
4. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)
US biotech Moderna is focused on the development of new drugs through stem-cell technology and is one of the first in the world to begin human testing trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Its share price has jumped by more than 100% (16 April) since COVID-19 became a global pandemic as governments in Europe and the US offered large funding rounds in support of its efforts to find a vaccine.
On April 16 the company announced it was a receiving a US$483 million government grant to accelerate the development and large-scale production of a coronavirus vaccine.
5. Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO)
Inovio is a US biopharmaceutical company that develops treatments for infectious diseases and cancers.
The company announced in late January it was developing a vaccine for the new coronavirus and was awarded US$9 million for its efforts by health regulators. It has since received a further $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is set to start human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in April.
6. VIR Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIR)
Immunology company VIR has seen its stock price jump around 60% in the last month largely on the hopes that it will be the first to find a cure.
This week it announced it was moving forward with two candidates and is due to start human trials between June to August. VIR is also working with Chinese company WuXi Biologics and if a vaccine is approved it will be commercialised in China through WuXi and marketed to the rest of the world under VIR.
7. Mesoblast (ASX: MSB)
Mesoblast Limited is an Australian medicinal company that offers treatment for inflammatory ailments and cardiovascular disease.
In early March its share price jumped around 20% in a day after it announced it was working on a treatment to aid COVID-19 patients with signs of respiratory distress. Testing is set to take place in the US, Europe, China and Australia.
8. Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP)
Cynata is an Australian stem-cell research company listed on the ASX in 2013.
Similar to Mesoblast, Cynata is focused on the treatment of COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory symptoms through its stem-cell technology. Although its stock price jumped around 8% in early March, its share price is down almost 30% in the last month.
Buy shares through an online broker
To buy shares you’ll need to find a broker or online brokers (aka share trading platforms) available in South Africa. There aren’t any coronavirus-related biotech companies whose stocks you can invest in on the JSE, at the time of writing. For stocks listed on the NYSE, ASX or NASDAQ you’ll need to find a platform with access to international stock markets.
More guides on Finder
How to buy The Honest Company (HNST) shares from South Africa
Here’s everything we know so far about The Honest Company IPO and how to buy in from South Africa.
How to invest in the Didi Chuxing IPO from South Africa
Everything we know about the Didi Chuxing IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
How to buy Robinhood stock from South Africa
Robinhood is expected to go public, here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to buy in from South Africa.
How to invest in the Deliveroo IPO from South Africa
Deliveroo is set to go public, here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to buy in from South Africa.
How to invest in the BTCC Bitcoin ETF
The world’s first physical Bitcoin ETF has launched onto the stock market. Here’s how to invest if you’re in South Africa.
How to buy Coinbase (COIN) shares from South Africa
Steps to owning and managing Coinbase shares.
How to buy Databricks stock in South Africa when it goes public
Here’s everything we know so far about the Databricks IPO.
The next GameStop? Here are the 10 most heavily shorted stocks
Buying shorted stocks can pay off. Here are the 10 most heavily shorted stocks.
How to buy stock in Airbnb (ABNB) in South Africa
This vacation-rental giant has finally gone public. Learn how to invest in Airbnb in South Africa.
CFD trading platforms in South Africa
Learn how you can trade CFDs online in South Africa with our simple guide.
Ask an Expert