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The coronavirus pandemic is raging and there’s still no treatment or vaccine. Regardless, let’s look at the stocks of two major biotech companies: Gilead Sciences and Moderna.
Biotech companies haven’t always been the most sought-after. For the most part, they didn’t make the news as much as other more popular stocks that have surged in recent times. However, as biting as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been for most of the other stocks and the rest of the financial markets, biotech stocks may have enjoyed some success. While there are quite a few working on either a treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19, both Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) have become quite popular. Even as several jurisdictions are starting to ease their respective lockdown orders, let’s take a look at both biotech stocks.
Moderna (MRNA) stock closed at $63.31 yesterday and has climbed to $63.85 in the pre-market today. While this might not be much of a rise, the company has had quite the winning streak. In less than a week, Moderna has climbed over 5% and over 100% since March. Its 2020 gains have climbed over 223% and 308.45% in the last one year. Most of the gains came in this year, on the company’s COVID-19 efforts.
While there are no final results just yet, Moderna says the interim results of its phase 1 trial are successful. Even though it’s just 8 people, the vaccine is already producing antibodies in the people that have received it. Phase 2 trials are already in the works and Moderna plans phase 3 to begin next month. The 3rd phase will involve about 30,000 volunteers.
Generally, Moderna’s plan is to make sure that it has a vaccine ready by January 2021. According to a report from a local Israeli media platform, Moderna is already working on a vaccine deal with the government of Israel. Reportedly, the conversation between Moderna and members of the Israeli Health Ministry is already at an advanced stage. Moderna’s moves look promising enough for any of its investors to keep faith in the company.
GILD barely climbed from its $73.76 close yesterday to its current pre-market price of $73.77. Gilead Sciences stock has climbed 13.51% in 2020 and just a little over 8% in the last 12 months. However, these figures, low as they may seem, might not really represent the true state of GILD.
For example, Gilead is making significant progress with its antiviral drug, Remdesivir. In fact, Gilead Sciences is currently on the hunt for partners in manufacturing, to pump production of the drug. Currently, the company plans to spread Remdesivir to at least 127 countries outside of the U.S.
In addition to this, a May Bloomberg report revealed that Japanese authorities approved Remdesivir. Three days after Gilead Sciences sent Japan an application about the drug, authorities gave their green light. Just a few days before this authorization, the FDA also approved Remdesivr, but only for emergency uses.
Moderna vs Gilead Sciences
According to Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh, GILD’s current price sluggishness does not hamper its long-term view in any way. Singh even encourages investors to take advantage of this:
“We view any GILD weakness as a potential buying opportunity.”
According to Singh, the slow movement is probably only because the markets are beginning to shift their focus away from COVID-19 and biotech stocks. Another plus for Gilead Sciences is a possible merger with AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE: AZN), a pharmaceutical and biopharma company.
For Moderna, its success is also undoubted. From under $8 billion at the beginning of the year, the company’s market cap is now at $23.88 billion.
Investors should take note that as long as the pandemic has not been completely wiped out, both stocks have a good chance. However, consider their individual figures, against their respective progress regarding their treatments and vaccines.