January 14th, 2022 | 11:44 CET
BioNTech, Defence Therapeutics, PAION - Seizing the momentum
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"[...] As a company dedicated to developing treatments for rare heart diseases, we see this as an opportune moment to contribute to the fight against heart disease and make meaningful strides in improving heart health worldwide. [...]" David Elsley, CEO, Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.
How quickly it can happen in the biotech sector that a company that has been inconspicuous for years can quickly become a new star on the stock market is shown by the example of the Mainz biotechnology company BioNTech. BioNTech was founded in 2008 as BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals GmbH based on many years of research work. The focus was on the development and production of technologies and drugs for individualized cancer immunotherapies based on mRNA.
As of early 2020, BioNTech developed the vaccine BNT162b2, also known as Comirnaty, which, as is well known, is successfully marketed globally in collaboration with the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. At the same time, the vaccine is the first approved product of the German flagship company, and 20 other potential drugs are said to be in the development pipeline, according to BioNTech.
The IPO took place shortly before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in October 2019 on the US technology exchange Nasdaq, with an issue price of USD 15 per share. After that, the stock price soared, fueled by positive studies and final approval. The high was USD 464.00 in August 2021. That was followed by a major correction of more than 60%, which is rather the technical normality for such growth stocks. Nevertheless, the stock market value still stands at USD 53.57 billion.
From a chart perspective, BioNTech may have completed a bottoming process at USD 200. At first glance, the stock is too expensive as a one-product company. On the other hand, if you listen to science, mRNA technology is likely to have made the breakthrough through the development of an adequate vaccine, which means that more BioNTech products in the field of cancer research should only be a matter of time.
Platform approach with potential
Far less well known than BioNTech is the Canadian company Defence Therapeutics. The Mainz-based Company is also miles ahead of the stock market value, which currently stands at just under EUR 130 million. In terms of valuation, however, the gap could narrow in the future due to the Company's proprietary platform. Defence Therapeutics aims to develop the next generation of vaccines and ADC products.
Market researchers at Emergen Research forecast that the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) market will reach a total volume of USD 20.01 billion by 2028, growing at nearly 26% per year.
At the core of the Defence Therapeutics platform is ACCUM technology, which enables precise delivery of vaccine antigens or ADCs in the intact form to target cells, revealing fewer side effects. As a result, improved efficiency and efficacy against many diseases such as cancer and infections can be achieved.
The new year 2022 began with a bang and the achievement of an important milestone. The final step in the GLP studies on the lead molecule AccuTOX ™ for combating cancer was initiated at Eurofins Advinus Limited before the start of its phase I study in breast cancer patients. The global market for breast cancer therapeutics is huge and growing extremely fast. According to Fortune Business Insights, it had a market size of USD 17.8 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to USD 38.5 billion by 2026.
As such, Eurofins, a leading contract research organization in drug discovery and development, has been contracted to perform all final FDA and Health Canada mandated GLP studies on its lead molecule. Completing this series of GLP studies represents the final step before Defence Therapeutics approaches the FDA and Health Canada to initiate a Phase I study in breast cancer patients in 2022.
China deal provides breathing room
The biotechnology company PAION also had an extremely successful start to the first days of the year. Since the beginning of the year, the share price has risen from EUR 1.20 to EUR 1.60. The rapid increase was due to the sale of its patent rights to Remimazolam in China. These are being sold to a subsidiary of Humanwell Healthcare. PAION will receive around EUR 20.5 million for the rights and the associated royalties.
Jim Philipps, CEO of PAION, is excited about the new growth opportunities: "This significant, non-dilutive financing will allow us to further invest in the expansion of our European sales teams for our three approved products in anesthesia and critical care. It will allow us to invest in our own sales growth toward the goal of becoming a sustainably profitable specialty pharmaceutical company over the next three years."
Research into vaccines due to the Corona pandemic has brought the importance of biotechnology to the general public's attention. BioNTech has already achieved an ambitious valuation, and with further successes in terms of cancer treatment, Defence Therapeutics still has significant growth potential through its platform technology. The cash that has been freed up could generate new revenue growth for PAION.
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