COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. The virus that causes the illness spreads rapidly, ultimately leading to the closure of several economies around the world. Here in the United States, the economy is beginning to reopen.
Unfortunately, the move to reopen comes with some serious risks. Since reopening began, the virus has begun to spread at rapid rates yet again. Some larger cities are already discussing closing down restaurants, bars, hair salons and other businesses that are deemed to be nonessential.
The truth of the matter is that COVID-19 is a very scary roller coaster ride, and that ride will continue until we have three things in place. Widespread testing, vaccines, and treatments are absolutely necessary in the fight.
The good news is that there are plenty of companies working to achieve the goal of putting these three key pieces of the puzzle in place. Even better, a decision to get behind the right companies in the race could prove to be an incredibly lucrative investment decision.
With that said, here are five COVID-19 stocks that investors should pay close attention to:
iBio (IBIO): A Small Vaccine Stock That Has Massive Potential
The race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is underway, and there are plenty of players on the field. The most important of these players, IBIO, INO, and MRNA are all on this list.
When it comes to IBIO, the company was one of the first to announce that it was working on the development of a vaccine to protect consumers against the coronavirus, and there are several strategic advantages the company has on its side.
First and foremost, iBio isn’t only working on one vaccine candidate. In fact, the company has two complete clinical development programs revolving around separate vaccine candidates. Of course, if you’re playing darts, you have a better chance to hit the bullseye with two shots than you do with one. The fact that the company is working on two potential vaccines comes with the same advantages.
Moreover, early on, IBIO announced that it teamed up with a Chinese company by the name of CC-Pharming. Importantly, CC-Pharming has already developed a vaccine for a sister virus of the coronavirus that’s causing the pandemic we’re living through at the moment. This kind of experience is invaluable when it comes to the rapid development of a vaccine for a virus in the midst of a pandemic outbreak.
Finally, IBIO owns a facility known as the FastPharming Facility. Commissioned using United States Government funding, the FastPharming Facility was designed to be able to rapidly produce vaccines and other therapeutic agents in the midst of a pandemic or epidemic outbreak.
This means that when it comes to the ability to mass manufacture a vaccine, IBIO already has the process locked down. It will not need to depend on partners to meet the vast demand that is expected should either of its vaccine candidates make it to commercialization.
Not to mention, with a market cap that puts the stock cleanly in the penny category, the upside potential here is massive should the company bring a vaccine to market. All in all, IBIO stock is one that should be watched very closely.
Vitro Diagnostics (VODG): A COVID-19 Treatment Play That Could Treat You To Big Gains
Vitro Diagnostics is a lesser-known company that’s likely to make a big splash in the COVID-19 space. The company’s claim to fame surrounds stem cell technology.
In particular, the company is able to rapidly produce stem cells at a fraction of the cost normally seen from its competitors making it one of the least cost-intensive models I’ve seen in the biotechnology space.
Over the years, the stem cells produced by Vitro Diagnostics have been used in the development of hundreds of products and clinical candidates for diseases like crohn’s disease, MS, heart disease, and brain injury, just to name a few. However, with COVID-19 the company sees an opportunity and is acting quickly to develop its own treatment option.
Importantly, stem cells have already proven effective in the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients. In fact, in a recent study in China, umbilical cord derived stem cell therapies were provided to 17 critically ill COVID-19 patients. All patients in the study saw rapid improvements, quickly being taken off of ventilators and other breathing assistance and being discharged from hospitals.
Similar results were seen in Israel when Pluristem reported the recovery of six patients treated with a similar type of stem cell, derived from the human placenta.
Even Vitro has shown proof that its own stem cells work through the treatment of a critically ill COVID-19 patient under an EUA from the FDA. To date, data surrounding this patient has been positive.
With an incredibly low cost structure, the proven ability of stem cells to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, and Vitro’s stem cells being successfully used in various applications, VODG is a stock that should be on your watch list.
Alpha Pro Tech (APT): Got Face Masks?
Alpha Pro Tech was a little-known company, that is, until the coronavirus began to spread. That’s because, before the coronavirus, the average person had no need for a face mask.
I’m sure that we all remember what happened to face mask availability at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The demand for these priced products was incredibly high, but with few manufacturers, they were flying off of shelves faster than they could be replaced.
With Alpha Pro Tech being one of the very few original producers of high-quality face masks, demand shot through the roof. Soon, the company that only did a few million in revenue annually had orders for tens of millions of dollars worth of face masks sitting in their downline.
The massive backlog of orders led to a huge increase in investor awareness earlier this year, sending the value of the stock from around $3 per share to more than $25 per share at its peak. Since, reaching this peak, APT has fallen back a bit, but a reversal seems to be taking place.
Today, the stock trades around $17 per share. However as demand continues to climb for face masks, and the company continues to ramp up production to meet that demand, the likely result will be more growth in the stock, making APT yet another for the watch list.
INOVIO Pharmaceuticals (INO): Developed A Vaccine Candidate In Hours
Shortly after China made the DNA sequence of the coronavirus available to scientists, INOVIO announced that it had developed a vaccine candidate. In fact, the company’s DNA platform made it possible for them to do so in a matter of three hours once the DNA sequence was received.
Since then, INOVIO Pharmaceuticals has become a favorite among investors when it comes to the race to develop the first effective vaccine. It’s impossible to argue the fact that the company is much further along than most of its peers.
In fact, the company is expected to move into late stage clinical trials of its vaccine candidate, INO-4800, as soon as late this year. Should this take place, and the vaccine prove to be effective, the company would be a shoe in for the first to bring a vaccine to market.
However, unlike most other companies on this list, INOVIO is a massive player in biotechnology, trading with a market cap well over $3 billion. As such, while the development and commercialization of a vaccine does represent an opportunity, it is a safer bet than some of the penny stocks on this list, yet doesn’t have the potential to deliver the massive growth of those stocks should things go well.
So, INO is a great COVID-19 stock for the watch list of investors with less of an appetite for risk than what would be required to invest in most others in the space.
Moderna (MRNA): Another Vaccine Play With Massive Potential
With a market cap well over $20 billion, Moderna is yet another very large biotechnology company. They are also one of the favorite players in the COVID-19 vaccine development space.
Like INOVIO Pharmaceuticals, Moderna is also very far along in the development of their vaccine candidate. Interestingly, this candidate requires multiple doses, and is nothing like any other vaccine that has ever been given to humans.
Nonetheless, the vaccine has shown promise in early stages of clinical development. However, for me, the most impressive part is that Moderna seems to have manufacturing locked down.
In fact, it is expected that the company will have 100 million doses of the vaccine produced before it ever makes it to market. So, once the vaccine does make it to market, there will be plenty of it to go around.
Again, with a market cap that’s already in the tens of billions, expecting gains in multiples here would be far from realistic. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for relatively safe exposure to the COVID-19 market, MRNA stock may be the way to go.
As COVID-19 continues to change the world as we know it, the world’s top scientists will continue to work to find ways to fight back the pandemic. As these scientists continue to do their work, those who support the companies that are successful will reap the benefits of their wise investment decisions. As such, now is the time to pay close attention to key players in the fight against COVID-19.
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