August 10th, 2021 | 11:57 CEST
Hot autumn for BioNTech, NanoRepro and XPhyto: Nothing works without testing and vaccination
Table of contents:
XPhyto with the gold standard - PCR test in just 20 to 25 minutes
Virtually worldwide, PCR testing is at the center of containment strategies around the Covid-19 pandemic. The reason: their better sensitivity enables significantly higher accuracy relative to antigen tests. As a biotech incubator, Canada-based XPhyto Therapeutics is driving new research approaches, particularly in the areas of diagnostics, advanced drug delivery, and new pharmaceutical agents.
Since last year, together with 3a-diagnostics GmbH from Stuttgart, Germany, they have developed a universally applicable PCR test and received approval to sell the Covid-19 RT-PCR test system "Covid-ID Lab" in Germany at the end of May 2021. The advantage is that the Covid-ID test delivers results after only 20 to 25 minutes because prior RNA extraction is not required as part of sample preparation. XPhyto thus closes the gap between inaccurate antigen tests and conventional PCR solutions, which take up to 24 hours to test. The XPhyto test can be considered the gold standard of corona testing. The universe of applications is huge. It spans all locations with reduced clearance and restricted access areas, such as hospitality, events, border crossings, airports, cruise ships, medical care facilities, and the workplace.
XPhyto Therapeutics has since acquired Stuttgart-based partners, 3a-diagnostics. With the acquisition, the Canadians have secured another exciting technology with excellent revenue potential. Thus, XPhyto is growing organically and through targeted acquisitions. The portfolio includes, among other things, clinical validation for cannabis in Europe. In this growth market, XPhyto is developing drugs that offer test kits and solutions to enable the human body to better absorb medical agents, such as patches and is developing drugs. In addition to a neurological drug, the Canadians are also working in the field of psychedelic agents - another future market. XPhyto's market capitalization is currently around EUR 88 million. Due to the large number of projects from exciting areas, such as PCR testing, cannabis and psychedelic agents, the valuation seems attractive.
BioNTech - Highflyer unstoppable
BioNTech is currently unstoppable. Not only the share price but also the operating performance of the Company is presently more than reasonable. The Covid-19 vaccine should continue to bring billions into the Company's coffers for the foreseeable future. Discussions are gathering pace in the USA and Europe about potential booster vaccines to combat the more aggressive Delta variant. It is expected that older people and those with a weakened immune system will receive a booster vaccination starting in the fall. In addition, it is often ignored that in many parts of the world, vaccination rates are still well below 10%. BioNTech is using the high revenues to expand its portfolio. Last week, the Marburg-based Company announced the completion of the acquisition of Kite's neoantigen T-cell receptor (TCR), a development platform for solid tumors, and the production facilities for clinical product candidates, including lease agreements for the production facility in Gaithersburg, USA. The acquisition expands BioNTech's manufacturing capabilities in North America and aims to accelerate research and development programs for individualized neoantigen TCR cell therapies for solid tumors. Research into further vaccines based on mRNA technology is also progressing, for example, against the dangerous tropical disease malaria. A clinical trial will be launched by the end of 2022: the EU Commission and the WHO support the project.
Driven by the necessary booster vaccinations and, in the longer term, vaccines against malaria or tuberculosis, Berenberg Bank has raised its price target for BioNTech shares from USD 235 to USD 400. The founders and investors have also benefited massively from the recent share price rally. The two biotech investors Andreas and Thomas Strüngmann, hold around half of the BioNTech shares and are thus now among the top 5 wealthiest Germans.
Can NanoRepro also profit in the fall?
Even though the advantages of PCR over antigen tests are now clear, rapid test providers could also benefit from rising infection figures in the fall. NanoRepro is one of them. After reaching its all-time high of over EUR 22 in spring 2021, the share has corrected sharply and hovered around EUR 6 for several weeks. The Marburg-based Company recently reported that it had received final approval for two SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid tests for the general public. Both the rapid antigen test and the home test can be marketed throughout Europe with the CE mark. Stefan Pieh, CFO of NanoRepro AG, said, "Based on the B2B Corona rapid antigen tests to date and the partnership with Viromed, we expect sales of at least EUR 250 million this year in the context of current macroeconomic and political developments. Possible larger orders from abroad or also orders in the area of the currently not yet approved saliva test for the end customer sector are only included to a small extent in this scenario. Overall, we consider a sales volume of EUR 400 million to be entirely possible." NanoRepro needs the cash flow from test sales to build up its product portfolio. Whether this will succeed remains to be seen.
It could be a hot fall for all three companies shown here. BioNTech is a Corona vaccination leader and uses billions from revenues to expand its product portfolio. XPhyto, with its 20-minute PCR test, could benefit massively from calls for greater use starting in the fall, and NanoRepro, with its rapid test, should not be written off either.
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