20. April 2021 | 06:50 CET
CureVac, BioNTech, PsyBio: Yesterday's game changers - and tomorrow's?
Vaccines against the coronavirus are changing everything. People who sat anxiously at home just a few weeks ago now dare to socialize again after their injection. Even if contact restrictions still apply - the feeling of being alive is different after the vaccination. German vaccine manufacturers, in particular, have used innovative mRNA technology to create vaccines that are largely scandal-free - and offer good protection. In the slipstream, new, innovative companies are already preparing to bring the next game changers to market. For investors, this can be a rewarding environment.
time to read: 3 minutes by Nico Popp
CureVac: From slow-moving Company to beacon of hope
The Tübingen-based vaccine manufacturer CureVac was long overshadowed by BioNTech, its competitor from Mainz. The reason: the Mainz-based Company was quicker to market and was one of the first vaccines to be used worldwide. But the image problem surrounding AstraZeneca and the difficulties with the similarly designed vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are now giving CureVac's Tübingen-based Company a boost. Even in regulation-loyal Germany, calls are being heard for special approval.
Even if this step does not succeed, CureVac has been on the home stretch since the cooperation with Bayer, which concluded in December. The Company set its sights on perfection early on, putting the goal of being among the first on the back burner. While the vaccine business is already largely over in countries such as the UK, Israel and the US, CureVac's advanced mRNA vaccine could come at the right time for Europe. The share is already preparing to regain past performance highs. In addition to the EU, other countries that had increasingly hoped for Johnson & Johnson could also switch to CureVac. It is already certain that demand for the Tübingen-based vaccine exceeds supply. The share could still become a winner on the final stretch of the pandemic.
BioNTech: What is still to come?
BioNTech is already a winner - the share is currently trading at an all-time high around EUR 127. The fact that the Company is promising was also evident after the approval in the USA, Europe and many other countries. Some market participants had expected BioNTech to run out of steam after the successful market launch, but it is now clear that, firstly, further booster vaccinations are needed and, secondly, that BioNTech is a leader in mRNA technology. In the future, the focus will also shift to preparations that help against diseases such as cancer. The Company and the share remain promising. However, investors should bear in mind that BioNTech has already priced in a lot of fantasy.
PsyBio Therapeutics: A paradigm shift in the fight against depression
The US company PsyBio Therapeutics is at the very beginning of their journey. The Company is using research widely conducted in the US around the active ingredient psilocybin to develop drugs to combat depression. Psilocybin is found, among other things, in so-called magic mushrooms and is known as a hallucinogen. More and more scientists believe that the active ingredient, in precise doses and supported by therapeutic measures, can be very effective against depression. Even when the active ingredient is no longer detected in humans, the psychological effects remain. Since people often have overwhelming metaphysical experiences under the influence of these agents, drugs based on them are a potential game-changer.
PsyBio works closely with the University of Miami and enjoys several advantages thanks to its close relationship with the scientific community, such as working with and combining multiple compounds. PsyBio CEO Evan Levine points out in an interview, "We have a unique relationship with a major research university that gives us access to services and talent that many other companies do not have. Our collaboration with both the engineering and psychology departments at the University of Miami provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to explore novel combinations that competitors would have to queue up commercial service providers for."
Low valuation meets potential billion-dollar market
While competitors, such as Compass Pathways, are already valued at more than USD 1 billion, PsyBio Therapeutics is currently worth only about USD 33 million on the stock market. Further, the Company has tens of millions in cash on hand. PsyBio Therapeutics, along with anchor shareholders who hold about 40% of the Company, sees itself on a long-term mission to continue researching psychoactive compounds to treat depression. "Psilocybin and related research offer a paradigm shift in the way mental illness and other disorders are treated by 'rewiring' the brain and changing the mind. Moreover, this new class of compounds is neither addictive nor lethal and has no negative side effect profile," Levine said optimistically. With the stock trending sideways for weeks, the current level could be a good time for far-sighted investors - it is still early days for PsyBio.