November 3rd, 2022 | 12:01 CET
BioNTech, Moderna and Defence Therapeutics right in the middle of the billion-dollar mRNA market! And Bayer?
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"[...] Orano had already experimented with Accum™ prior to working with us and then decided to collaborate. [...]" Sébastien Plouffe, CEO, Defence Therapeutics Inc.
BioNTech: Full coffers and full pipeline
mRNA technology is considered the key to fighting cancer. In Germany alone, almost half a million people develop cancer - every year. And the disease often ends fatally. In 2020, around 200,000 people died in Germany as a result. The figures illustrate how important a vaccine against the disease would be. The race for the first approval is on, and BioNTech is right in the middle of it. Thanks to the billions in profits from the COVID-19 vaccine, the Mainz-based company can go full throttle with development. And things are moving forward: BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin expressed great confidence in an interview with the British BBC. He wants to offer the first cancer vaccines before 2030. During the pandemic, the Company not only earned a lot but learned a lot about vaccine development. And regulators have also learned more about mRNA, so approval processes should run more smoothly. Overall, the development pipeline at the Mainz-based company is full to bursting. One seasonal flu vaccine is in phase 3, 5 are in phase 2, 16 are in phase 1, and another 11 are in the preclinical phase. If BioNTech were to win the race - as it did with COVID-19 - for the cancer vaccine, quite different share price regions would probably be possible. However, this would require more newsflow, and this is not expected in the short term. Unlike the following company...
Defence Therapeutics: Positive newsflow - when will the share react?
Defence Therapeutics aims to revolutionize modern medicine with an unconventional approach. To this end, the biotech company has built a platform based on its patented Accum technology. The Accum method is designed to enable more efficient and effective vaccines by transporting vaccine antigens and antibody-drug conjugates in an intact form to the respective target cells. The Canadians' focus is on cancer and infectious diseases. Newsflow in recent weeks has been positive. First, the start of a new preclinical program for the treatment of lung cancer, including various types of malignant tumors of the upper and lower respiratory tract, was reported. The global market for lung cancer therapeutics alone is expected to grow more than 10% annually through 2029, reaching more than USD 54 billion. Interestingly, Defence Therapeutics' product is said to be easily ingested through the nose.
The latest announcement from Defence Therapeutics is also interesting. The Company has initiated a new research and development program to use Accum technology to develop mRNA-based cancer vaccines. "By linking Accum to an mRNA molecule, we can ensure that the vaccine is not only delivered to the right section of the cell but also accumulates in large quantities to trigger an immune response, said Mr Plouffe, CEO of Defence Therapeutics. Initially, a program for an Accum mRNA vaccine against cancer has been initiated, targeting solid lymphomas. Subsequently, other research-based companies - BioNTech and Moderna, for example - will be able to use the Accum platform. The share has shown hardly any positive reaction in recent weeks. At EUR 1.28, it is trading just below the low for the year of EUR 1.03. To put this in perspective: just over a year ago, the stock was still trading above EUR 4. The market capitalization is around CAD 60 million.
Bayer: More than 50% price potential?
Bayer shares are currently in an uptrend. The downward trend that has been in place since May seems to have at least been broken. The share is currently trading at just over EUR 53. Analysts were optimistic ahead of the quarterly figures. According to them, the fundamental data in all three business areas of the Dax group are positive. Therefore, the analysts have renewed the price target of EUR 90 and the rating "Overweight". JPMorgan colleagues are also bullish on Bayer shares. They also say "Overweight" and trust the Bayer share to reach EUR 80. Credit Suisse is somewhat more reserved. Their analysts rate Bayer as "Neutral". However, the price target of EUR 66 is also still just under 25% above the current level. According to Credit Suisse, Bayer is one of the companies benefiting from a weak euro. And this should continue in the coming years.
BioNTech is one of the promising mRNA players. Those who like it more speculative should look at Defence Therapeutics - the newsflow at least gives hope for higher prices. At Bayer, the glyphosate issue finally seems to be moving into the background.
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