July 7th, 2022 | 14:33 CEST
A big surprise at BioNTech, and what are Valneva and NervGen doing?
Table of contents:
NervGen: Will the breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's succeed?
It sounds exciting: Treating nerve damage in various diseases such as spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer's disease with a single drug - this is the goal of NervGen Pharma. To this end, the Canadian company is currently developing the compound NVG-291 and recently received approval to administer the third and highest dose in the clinical trial. As a result, this will allow Phase 1b/2a to start in the second half of the year for efficacy in patients with Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury. The Phase 2 trial in patients with multiple sclerosis is expected to start in early 2023. A corporate action with gross proceeds of approximately USD 15 million is currently underway for financing. The share price could gain new momentum if it is completed tomorrow as planned. NervGen's planned IPO on NASDAQ should also contribute to this, with the IPO expected to take place before the end of the year.
By way of background, existing drugs have so far only been able to limit or contain the extent of nerve damage. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, existing drug therapies can only slightly slow down the progression of the disease. That is no consolation either for those affected or for their relatives. Experts believe that with NVG-291, NervGen could achieve its greatest success in decades in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. The potential is correspondingly enormous. In the US alone, there are about 6 million cases of Alzheimer's disease and, in addition, 900,000 patients with multiple sclerosis and 300,000 chronic patients with spinal cord injuries. What these diseases all have in common is that nerves are damaged and the body responds by scarring to contain the damage. However, scarring inhibits the body's ability to regrow and regenerate the central nervous system. If the upcoming trial results for NVG-291 are successful, the chances are good that NervGen shares will no longer trade below their high for the year at EUR 1.87. Currently, the share is trading at around EUR 1.44.
BioNTech: CureVac lawsuit settled?
Probably only very few had expected this - CureVac, which failed with its Corona vaccine, is suing BioNTech. A lawsuit has been filed with the Düsseldorf Regional Court for patent infringement. The case concerns the mRNA technology and thus BioNTech's Corona vaccine Comirnaty. From CureVac's point of view, BioNTech has infringed several patents, for example, in the production of mRNA molecules. CureVac is therefore demanding appropriate compensation for an infringement of intellectual property rights. BioNTech rejected the accusations. The Mainz-based biotech company said it respects valid intellectual property rights. BioNTech's work is "original," and it will defend it vigorously against any allegations of patent infringement. It is not uncommon, he said, for other pharmaceutical companies to now claim that the vaccine potentially infringes on their intellectual property rights in the wake of the BioNTech vaccine's success. Analysts have not yet commented on the dispute. Most recently, BioNTech had given an update on its ongoing development work at a virtual conference. As a result, Deutsche Bank confirmed its price target of USD 180 for the BioNTech share. It is currently trading at around USD 150. At the event, BioNTech presented a vision for a time after the Corona pandemic. In this context, the oncology segment looks promising, the analysts said.
Valneva: Euphoria gone?
Valneva shareholders currently need strong nerves. After the share had doubled in June, it went down again strongly in recent days. Initially, a deal with Pfizer had electrified investors. Specifically, the agreement provides for the US pharmaceutical group to take an 8% stake in Valneva and pay around EUR 90.5 million for it. Milestone payments have also been agreed upon. The entry is due to the Lyme disease vaccine candidate with blockbuster potential. Valneva plans to start the Phase 3 trial in the third quarter of 2022. Subsequently, the share price doubled to almost EUR 15 within a few days. But then disillusionment set in. By the beginning of July, the share had briefly fallen below the EUR 10 mark. It is currently trading at EUR 11, meaning the chart is clearly weakened again. It cannot be ruled out that the share will test the old lows between EUR 7 and 8 in a weak market environment. Positive operating news for a sustained share price recovery is currently not foreseeable.
Biotech investors traditionally need strong nerves and patience. The stock market is currently taking a relaxed view of the CureVac lawsuit, and analysts have not yet changed their opinion of BioNTech. NervGen could face an exciting second half of the year after the successful completion of the capital measure. At Valneva, the air seems to be out again for the time being.
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