September 24th, 2021 | 14:10 CEST
BioNTech, Valneva, Defence Therapeutics: New highs for vaccine stocks?
Table of contents:
Defence Therapeutics: Vaccine newcomer with attractive valuation
Recent news shows that Corona will be with us for a long time. It is good news for Defence Therapeutics. The Canadians' goal is to develop universal vaccines. To that end, they have developed their proprietary Accum™ technology. On this, Defence Therapeutics is working on vaccines against cancer and infectious diseases - these include COVID-19. The Company has now published an update on the development status of the second-generation "non-injectable" COVID vaccine, AccuVAC-IN002, for intranasal administration. In doing so, the researchers emphasize that individuals infected with the Delta strain have a viral load in their nasal cavity that is 1260 times higher compared with the original version of the coronavirus. The last point is extremely important, he said, because current vaccination strategies do not provide protection against this airborne transmission of the virus to the mucosal areas that form the initial site of infection. That means vaccinated individuals can still become infected and develop potentially life-threatening symptoms. That is where Defence Therapeutics' vaccine comes in.
"Defence's new AccuVAC-IN002 formulation enables us to elicit both IgA and IgG antibody responses at the systemic level and mucosal sites. This would have the effect of blocking transmission, thus not only stopping the initial infection but also ensuring nearly 100% blockage of viral release (shedding)," explained Mr. Plouffe, CEO of Defence Therapeutics. "In addition, our new AccuVAC-IN002 formulation can be further developed to function as a "universal" vaccine capable of targeting 4 to 8 strains simultaneously, which would provide effective protection against all known variants and future emerging strains," he added. In addition, he said, the current progression of the SARS-COVID virus suggests that it will evolve into a new influenza-like seasonal virus. Accordingly, vaccination would be needed every 6 to 12 months.
Defence Therapeutics is currently valued at "only" around EUR 170 million. This valuation seems attractive, especially given Valneva's EUR 1.3 billion. While Valneva is already further along in development, if Defence Therapeutics' platform strategy is successful, it should produce a whole series of vaccines.
Valneva: Recovered from the shock?
Keyword Valneva. The share seems to have recovered from the shock at the start of the week. On Monday, the UK government's surprise termination of the supply contract for the Company's COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently under development, resulted in a price slide of over 40%. The canceled supply contract for the classic inactivated vaccine was worth USD 1.4 billion. However, investors now seem to have regained their courage. The Valneva share has gained up to 25% in recent trading days. It has thus broken away from the chart-technically important 200-day line to the upside. Analysts also continue to be optimistic. Goldman Sachs recommends the Valneva share with a price target of EUR 14.50 as a buy. The analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux also believe in the Company's success. They name a price target of EUR 24 and also recommend the share as a buy. Whether the share can make sustained gains will depend on the study results.
BioNTech: Consolidation over?
BioNTech shareholders needed patience in recent weeks. The high in August of around EUR 400 is far behind, and the share is consolidating - with partly high fluctuations - around EUR 300. However, the environment is right. Together with its partner Pfizer, the Company is working on the approval of the vaccine for children. According to both companies, test subjects between the ages of five and eleven have tolerated the active ingredient well. The vaccine elicited a stable immune response, they said. In order to speed up the approval process, the results have already been sent to the relevant authorities in the USA and Europe. Approval could therefore be granted in just a few weeks. There is further positive news from the USA. US President Biden has announced that the country will donate 500 million more vaccine doses to poorer countries. The doses will be ordered from BioNTech/Pfizer. That brings the total US donation commitments to 1.1 billion doses.
As summer comes to an end, vaccine stocks could be poised for a new high. Top dog BioNTech is a base investment in the sector. Defence Therapeutics is still a long way from approval but is also not widely unknown and attractively valued. Valneva, which is still valued at EUR 1.3 billion, will rise and fall with the upcoming trial results.
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