June 10th, 2022 | 11:48 CEST
BioNTech, NervGen Pharma, Valneva - Which stock will make the breakthrough in incurable diseases?
Table of contents:
BioNTech - Positive results from oncology study
BioNTech has become famous for its COVID-19 vaccine because the Mainz-based company was the first to succeed in developing a vaccine. Even today, the vaccine is the most popular in Germany. The Company not only deals with the Coronavirus, but also develops immunotherapies for the individual treatment of cancer and other infectious diseases. Thanks to the blockbuster Comirnaty, the Company is in a good financial position and can easily invest large sums in research and development. In addition, Corona has ensured that its mRNA technology is now recognized.
The oncology pipeline is bulging with 16 product candidates in 20 ongoing clinical trials. Fittingly, there are positive Phase 1 data from the mRNA-based individualized neoantigen-specific immunotherapy in patients with pancreatic cancer, as announced by the Company on June 5. Prof. Özlem Türeci, MD, said she was pleased, "The early results of this Phase 1 study are encouraging, and we look forward to investigating it further in a larger randomized trial." However, the Corona vaccine continues to hold the greatest promise in the short term. In the US, it has filed jointly with Pfizer for approval in the 6 month to 5 year age group.
A vaccine directed explicitly against the Omicron variant is expected to be launched soon. This could provide another boost to the share price in the short term. At the last quarterly figures, management had confirmed the forecast of EUR 13-17 billion in sales. Now that there are more and more new Omicron variants, the new vaccine could be in high demand. Despite the positive news, the share is no longer gaining momentum. Since March, the share has been running sideways between EUR 111.30 and EUR 170.00. It is, therefore, a long way from the 2021 highs at EUR 395.
NervGen Pharma - Cure for nerve damage
NervGen Pharma is focused on researching, developing and commercializing pharmaceutical products to treat nerve damage, including spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. These diagnoses all have one thing in common, the nerves are damaged and the body responds by scarring to contain the damage. But what makes sense at first inhibits nerve regeneration because the scar tissue contains chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG). The Company has secured a license from Case Western Reserve University for NVG-291, a technology developed by Dr Jerry Silver. Dr Silver has been conducting research on repairing the patient's nervous system since the 1990s.
The product candidate, NVG-291, is in clinical trials to treat spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. On May 12, the Company announced that it had received approval to administer the third and highest dose in the clinical trial. There were no serious adverse events in the second dose cohort. The dose was significantly higher than that used in preclinical animal studies, in which the drug has shown the potential to promote nervous system repair mechanisms. CEO Paul Brennan was pleased, saying, "This provides us with a clear pathway to define our dosing as we plan our upcoming Phase 1b/2a efficacy studies in patients with Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury later in 2022 and a Phase 2 study in patients with multiple sclerosis in early 2023."
The experienced management team was expanded in April with the addition of Craig Thompson. He has more than 30 years of industry experience, primarily in drug development, which he can bring to bear on the upcoming Phase 1b/2 trials of NVG-291. If the breakthrough succeeds in the upcoming phase, the potential is enormous. There are about 6 million Alzheimer's patients in the US alone. The Company still wants to be listed on NASDAQ in 2022 to significantly increase its visibility. The stock, trading at 3.33 Canadian dollars (CAD) last November, is currently trading at CAD 1.90. The next support zones are at CAD 1.80 and CAD 1.61.
Valneva - Vaccine against Chikungunya fever ready for the market
Investors at Valneva are also thinking primarily of the Corona vaccine, which is still awaiting EU approval. But the vaccine company has more to offer than the Corona vaccine VLA2001. The French company specializes in the development and marketing of prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases with a high unmet medical need. Together with its partner Pfizer, the Company is working on a Lyme disease vaccine candidate that, following a successful phase 2, is now entering the decisive phase 3 stage.
One step further is the drug VLA1553, which has successfully completed Phase 3 and combats Chikungunya fever. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and is found mainly in warmer climates. Due to climate change, outbreaks have already occurred in southern Europe. The market is currently estimated at around USD 500 million, and Valneva currently holds a monopoly position, thus receiving accelerated approval in the USA and Europe.
The European Medicines Agency has now accepted the application for approval of the Corona vaccine, but the Company does not have much time left to make improvements. If the Company obtains approval for the vaccine, the share price should break out of its sideways phase. This situation has persisted since mid-May and will dissipate in the coming days. If Valneva does not receive approval, the lows of EUR 9.15 will be attacked. A test of the upper side of the range at EUR 12.69 is likely if the approval is successful. It will be exciting.
New technologies and research bring hope that even incurable diseases can be conquered or at least mitigated in the future. BioNTech is intensely active in the field of cancer and can already show first small successes. NervGen Pharma has already demonstrated in animals that its drug can heal nerve damage. If these results can be transferred to humans, it would be a milestone for many currently incurable diseases. Valneva has brought its vaccine against Chikungunya fever to market maturity. The stock could jump quickly if the Company receives EU approval for the Corona vaccine.
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