Coronavirus Vaccine Stock: Gilead Sciences or Moderna?

UTC by Steve Muchoki · 5 min read
Coronavirus Vaccine Stock: Gilead Sciences or Moderna?
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Let’s have a closer look at Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) stocks as the companies are working on possible coronavirus vaccine.

In the race for a coronavirus vaccine, two horses battle for the lead, Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA). As a result, a lot of speculation on the booming of their stock prices has been in the mainstream media, since the outbreak of the deadly virus.

Gilead Sciences is an American public biotech company that focuses mainly on antiviral drugs, which are used in the treatment of HIV and other viral diseases. Back in 1992, the company went public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), whereby, it raised $86.25 million. The company has been involved in a number of projects that have made it popular amongst its peers.

Along the way, the company has acquired other entities and at the same time made collaborations to venture in the drug industry. Several of its vaccines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, like the Atripla for HIV, adefovir for hepatitis and Emtriva for the treatment of HIV.

On the other hand, Moderna Inc is an American biotech company which is focused on drug development based on messenger RNA (mRNA). The company basically injects their patients with a synthetic mRNA in order to help them create their therapies. Although a public company, the company is not as old as Gilead as it was founded back in 2010. Since then it has had a number of successful debuts including the 2016 phase 1 in Europe for the mRNA-1440.

Gilead Stock (GILD) Market amid Coronavirus

Gilead being a leader in the field of antiviral drugs, it has developed the Remdesivir to counter the deadly coronavirus. Remdesivir has been in existence for a while, however, it was not successful in the treatment against Ebola. The drug has proven beyond doubts that it can be used in the treatment of MERS and SARS –members of coronavirus.

The drug which is still in the trial mode has been backed by several reputable health organizations like the WHO. According to the assistant director-general at WHO, Bruce Aylward, Remdesivir is one drug that may have efficacy against the novel coronavirus.

As a result of the benefit of the doubt with the public, the company’s stock value has skyrocketed in the past few weeks to hit the all-time highs. 

Despite the company not having the drug against COVID-19 in the market, a lot of investors are betting huge with the company to hit the wheel rolling soon.

At the time of writing, Gilead stock price was above $82 (+3%), after shooting up on the news that the first batch of the drugs is being tested on human. The bull rally seems to be in the initial stages, with possibilities of reaching several hundred in the near future.

Moderna (MRNA) Stock amid Coronavirus

Moderna stock is proving to be very intriguing on most investors after the wake of coronavirus outbreak. On February 24, 2020, the company announced it had released the first batch of mRNA-1273, its test vaccine against coronavirus, to be used on a human. The company shipped some of the samples to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), to be used in phase 1 of US coronavirus treatment.

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, works against the coronavirus encoding for a pre-fusion stabilized form of Spike (S) protein. The manufacturing of the vaccine is being funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

As a result, its stock market value has more than doubled in the past few weeks and since the calendar flipped in general. At the time of writing, the stock price was $26.91 (-14.80%). However, today earlier it trading at $32.31, after testing and surpassing the all-time high.

Although similar to Gilead on not having the product in the market, investors are betting big on its stock in the near future. It is a huge gamble since the drug might not go through all the stages of approving with the regulatory bodies. However, if the vaccine is passed, it will be a jackpot on the early investors as the stock market will soar high up.

Between Gilead and Moderna Stock, Which Holds a Better Position?

This is a question that might not be answered at the moment because none of the test vaccines has been approved. However, with Gilead stock market trading at over $80, while Moderna trade below half its price, maybe that is an indicator most investors are not going for the latter.

Based on the results of the human test of the vaccine, a clear direction can be deduced on which vaccine to be adopted. Another plus for the Gilead over Moderna stock is that the WHO has in a way given a green light on the Remdesivir. 

All said and done, the competition will be beneficial to the greater humankind that is being threatened by a coronavirus. At the end of the day, if both vaccines are passed to be used against coronavirus, the market is promising huge to accommodate all.

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