09. February 2021 | 08:00 CET
CureVac, Cardiol Therapeutics, Bayer - roaring profits!
The race for the best and most effective vaccine is in full swing. After BioNTech and its partner Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca were approved in Europe, but there are always obstacles. Over the weekend, for example, South Africa announced that it is forgoing the AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being. The background to this is its supposedly lower efficacy with the B.1.351 virus mutation. Somewhat unnoticed, another vaccine manufacturer is moving into pole position through innovative collaborations.
time to read: 3 minutes by Stefan Feulner
In addition to research into the various vaccines, the search for drugs to combat the Coronavirus is currently top of the agenda. A Canadian company has had tremendous success in conjunction with cannabidiol, one of the 100 different cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. is an Oakville-based biopharmaceutical Company. The Company focuses on manufacturing pharmaceutical cannabidiol (CBD) products and developing innovative therapies for heart disease, including acute myocarditis and other causes of heart failure.
The Company is already in clinical trials with its CardiolRx™ product. Pre-clinical evidence there has shown that the compound can prevent fibrosis in heart muscle and reduce inflammation. In December, it was published that the Phase I clinical trial of CardiolRx - the Company's highly concentrated, high-purity, cGMP-produced CBD formulation - has been completed. At the same time, Cardiol is preparing a Phase II/III clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CardiolRx in 422 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with a history of, or risk factors for, cardiovascular disease ("CVD") - including myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, myocarditis, stroke and heart failure - at major medical centers across the United States.
Blockbuster deal pushes valuation
Last week, a strong sign for the fast-growing cannabis industry was cancer therapy developer Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC's USD 7.2 billion deal with UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals, maker of the epilepsy drug Epidiolex for children, the first cannabis-based drug approved in the US. For market observers, the deal represents a massive push for cannabis companies focused on pharmaceutically manufactured products, such as Canada's Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.
Accordingly, since the deal, last Wednesday, Cardiol’s stock has exploded from CAD 3.20 to the current CAD 4.50. CEO David Elsley welcomed the deal, calling it an "important validation for cannabidiol as a medicine." The stock market value of the Canadians currently stands at EUR 67.40 million. An attractive value for the future with great potential. However, as with any biotech, one should not ignore the risks.
A good reason for the delay
As far as the current vaccine's approval is concerned, somewhat late in the game is the Tübingen-based Company CureVac. According to CureVac founder Ingmar Hoerr, however, this delay has a very good reason. According to the Company leader, extreme emphasis was placed on temperature stability during preclinical development. "A vaccine stored at minus 80 degrees may work for the Western world, but for developing countries, cooling is impossible," Hoerr continued.
In addition to temperature stability, significant consideration was also given to lower costs by keeping the dosage as low as possible so that the vaccine would be affordable, especially for poorer countries, he said. CureVac's goal is to have the vaccine, which is currently under development, ready for use in the summer. Here, the Company is even ahead of schedule. The clinical trial with the University of Mainz is to be completed sooner than planned.
The Phase 3 trial, which began in December and was to test the vaccine on more than 2,500 healthcare workers at the University Medical Center, is now to be opened up to members of all healthcare professions in the Mainz region. The University Medical Center announced on Monday that this could shorten the study's duration by three weeks and this phase is likely to be completed by the end of March.
Onboard with Bayer
The current vaccine candidate CVnCoV is produced in cooperation with the pharmaceutical giant Bayer. Like the vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna, the drug is based on so-called "messenger RNA." Besides Bayer, there are other cooperation partners, such as Wacker Chemie from Munich and Rentschler Biopharma from Laupheim.
The next-generation vaccine will then be developed in collaboration with the British Company GlaxoSmithKline. According to a statement on Friday, the future CureVac vaccines will then be partly manufactured and distributed in the UK. The goal of the collaboration is to mitigate the effects of the current pandemic, it said. In addition, CureVac plans to collaborate with the UK government to develop Corona vaccines against mutations of the virus. The agreement stipulates that if approved, CureVac will deliver 50 million vaccine doses against virus variants to the United Kingdom, the Company announced on Friday.
Share with a strong signal
After the setback and the late December/early January level test at USD 80.00, CureVac shares rebounded strongly and dynamically and sustainably broke through the resistance area at USD 108.00. Currently, the stock is trading in the black at USD 126.70, up 6%. The strong momentum should allow the share to run into the area around USD 130.00. A sustained break of the resistance area would mean a test of the old all-time high at USD 151.80. Fundamentally, the development of the CureVac share continues to look promising. In addition to the cooling of the vaccines, the Tübingen-based Company also seems to have the current mutations under control.