November 24th, 2021 | 12:41 CET
BioNTech, Defence Therapeutics, Novavax: Another step towards vaccination against cancer
Table of contents:
BioNTech: One success story
Before the vaccine champions at BioNTech announced their decision to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 early in 2020, mRNA technology focused on other uses. Among them, the fight against cancer. BioNTech had previously been researching and developing for years and was capitalizing on the pandemic. Suddenly, approval procedures and the bureaucracy behind them no longer seemed to be an obstacle. Also, the US government emphasized that a vaccine could cost whatever it wanted. These conditions ensured that vaccine developers could focus on the essentials - and go all out without risk.
Whereas a mistake in developing a vaccine or drug without regular evaluation can be costly, this risk was largely eliminated in the case of the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer. The results were impressive. The two pharmaceutical specialists moved forward with clinical trials at lightning speed, and the results surprised everyone: an efficacy rate of over 90% was far more than many observers had expected. The fact that the effect wears off over time and that BioNTech, like many other vaccines, probably has to be vaccinated in a triple schedule is something we have only known since the summer. That does not diminish the success of BioNTech. The booster wave is bringing fresh capital into the Company's coffers. At the same time, BioNTech is likely to have new versions of its vaccine already up its sleeve to make adjustments in the next variant. Keeping these aces up its sleeve makes perfect sense - after all, the virus is also adjusting to the conditions. BioNTech is a world-class company, but it is now also expensive.
Defence Therapeutics: Focus on breast and skin cancer
The example of Defence Therapeutics shows that it sometimes makes perfect sense to think outside the box when making investments. With Accum™, the Company has developed a technology that enables antibodies to piggyback on certain active ingredients and transport them exactly where they are needed. These so-called Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs), i.e. the combination of antibody and active ingredient, are often cited in the research community as a great source of hope. Since these ADCs are also ideally suited for use in vaccines, Defence Therapeutics is also pursuing an ambitious vaccine development program with its sights set on nothing less than the fight against cancer.
Most recently, the Company announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Lady Davis Institute Cell Processing Center (CPC) to produce the vaccine candidate AccuVAC-D001. The focus of the vaccine is to fight melanoma, or skin cancer, and breast cancer. Both types of cancer are highly prevalent - almost everyone will have heard of such diseases in their family or acquaintances. The agreement now concluded is an important step towards the complete evaluation and ultimately the vaccine's approval following the completion of successful studies. "By entering into this agreement, we have taken another step towards initiating our Phase I trial with our proprietary AccumTM DC technology. These trials will not only establish the "blueprints" for our manufacturing process but also implement key quality control steps required by regulatory authorities before we can begin treating melanoma and breast cancer patients in 2022," Mr. Plouffe, CEO of Defence Therapeutics, said in a press release. Shares of Defence Therapeutics have been in a slight downward consolidation over the past three months but have already reacted positively to the news. In German trading, the stock could pick up additional momentum beyond EUR 4.50. However, investors should bear in mind that the value is speculative due to the pending approval procedure. However, the technology is certainly promising for the future!
Novavax: There is life in the old dog yet
Novavax shows that even old technology can have a future. The vaccine manufacturer wants to score points with a dead vaccine against COVID-19. The vaccinees are injected with an inactive virus - this method has been tried and tested for decades. It is therefore also the preferred choice of skeptical people, such as soccer player Joshua Kimmich. Although in the broadest sense, Moderna and BioNTech's mRNA technology also relies on dead vaccines, Novovax's solution could still appeal to new vaccinees, helping to close vaccination gaps and finally defeat the pandemic. Novavax's vaccine could be approved in the EU in as little as a few weeks.
The share price has already risen by around 60% in the past four weeks. Defence Therapeutics currently offers greater potential. Although COVID-19 is not involved here, vaccines against common types of cancer are likely to trigger a run similar to the one that once took place in BioNTech shares. The latter rose by a whopping 226% last year alone. It may therefore be worthwhile for investors to think a little outside the box.
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