April 1st, 2022 | 12:43 CEST
BioNTech, Defence Therapeutics, Valneva, CureVac - Stocks with blockbuster potential!
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Born in Munich, he first studied economics and graduated in business administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in 1995. As he was involved with the stock market at a very early stage, he now has more than 30 years of experience in the capital markets.
BioNTech - Earning EUR 10 billion with COVID vaccines
The mRNA specialist BioNTech earned strongly last year. After a small profit in the millions in 2020, the Mainz-based company has now raked in billions with its COVID-19 vaccine "Comirnaty". BioNTech's net profit rose to EUR 10.3 billion in 2021 from EUR 15.2 million in 2020, while sales totaled EUR 18.98 billion, up from just EUR 482 million in the same period last year. In twelve months, the Company thus catapulted its profit to 680 times what was reported in 2020. Chapeau: A fantastic development!
Earnings per share amount to EUR 39.63. Shareholders are to benefit from the business development and receive a special dividend of EUR 2.0 per share. Major shareholders and founders such as the Strüngmann family (47%) and CEO Ugur Sahin (17%) will thus receive a combined payout of a good EUR 300 million. BioNTech also announced a share buyback program of up to USD 1.5 billion over the next two years. That should provide some downside protection for the share price.
The financial success in 2021 will allow the Company to make significant investments in research and development in the coming years. Up to EUR 1.5 billion is expected to be spent this year, 50% more than in 2021. For 2022, BioNTech expects sales of between EUR 13 billion and EUR 17 billion, mainly from its COVID-19 vaccine. However, profits are expected to be 15-20% lower. Thus, the stock is currently trading at a still-low 2023 P/E of 5 to 6. Very cheap for a dynamic biotech company with marketable products. Collect in weakness!
Defence Therapeutics - Cancer and infectious diseases on the radar
Defence Therapeutics (DTC) from Canada is already another step ahead! The Vancouver-based biotech company is working intensively on therapeutic methods to fight cancer and vaccines against infectious diseases. The company focuses on scientific discoveries and product developments that will accelerate the fight against cancer. US President Joe Biden recently stated in connection with its Cancer Moonshot program, "Let's end cancer as we know it and focus on prevention."
With its versatile technology, Defense Therapeutics is well-positioned to fight cancer in its early stages and offers a solution designed to prevent and treat cancer at the same time. The best way is still to prevent cancer in the early stages, known as primary prevention. "We focus on prevention and improving the efficacy of existing and new treatments against any type of cancer," said Sebastien Plouffe, chief executive officer of Defence Therapeutics Inc.
In the first quarter of 2022, Defence has entered into an agreement with Advanced Therapies Facilities (ATF), a division of the University of Birmingham, to manufacture its dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccine AccuVAC-D001M in accordance with EU GMP standards. This is the final step in submission to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in preparation for its Phase 1 clinical trial against melanoma, which is planned to be conducted in the fourth quarter of 2022. Defence is also making rapid progress in its ADC program against breast cancer. Both in vitro and in vivo animal studies are currently underway in conjunction with Accum to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. In addition, the Institut Curie in Paris is currently evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of AccumTM-T-DM1 ADC in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) breast cancer models, including three HER2-positive PDX models and one triple-negative PDX model.
Defence is also developing its own protein-based cervical cancer vaccine using the E6 and E7 oncoproteins. The novel vaccine will be the first of its kind as it can protect against cervical cancer while inducing regression of pre-existing tumors. The Company is currently implementing one milestone after another, and its current research program is impressive. DTC stock stands at around CAD 4.20, giving it a current market capitalization of CAD 150 million. For risk-conscious biotech investors, the value remains promising.
Valneva versus CureVac - Who will bring the next blockbuster?
It has become quiet around the two vaccine developers, Valneva and CureVac. The very high expectations of BioNTech and Moderna followers were partly disappointed by weak studies and delays in market entry. Investors then parted again very quickly from the more speculative stocks. Which of the two values now promises recovery potential?
At the French vaccine manufacturer Valneva, everything still revolves around the EU approval for the inactivated vaccine VLA2001. But now, there should be some movement soon. In its last publication, Valneva reported that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) still had a few questions but expected to receive approval as early as April. And April starts today.
About three-quarters of a year after the failure of its first vaccine project, CureVac is now starting a clinical trial with an improved vaccine. The first subject has now been vaccinated with the second-generation vaccine candidate, and the accompanying Phase 1 trial in the US is expected to enroll a total of 210 healthy adults. Unlike the first time around, the new vaccine has been developed in partnership with the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. CureVac expects initial results in the second half of this year.
Both Valneva and CureVac stocks are awaiting results. The share prices are running listlessly at the EUR 15 and EUR 17 mark, respectively. There will probably be no real movement until there are positive reports. Until then, cautious investors can sit back and relax.
The biotech companies presented here are in the market with different strengths and weaknesses. The first great wave of euphoria for vaccine manufacturers was probably already ridden out in 2021. Now a selective choice has to be made in light of existing pipelines.
Conflict of interest
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