These coronavirus vaccine makers are winning the money game so far


It is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately assess which new coronavirus vaccine candidates in clinical trials are likely to be the safest and most effective. Essentially, all we have to do at this point is preliminary results from early stage clinical studies. While several candidates look promising, it is still too early to know how well they will work in larger Phase 3 trials.

However, there is a way to compare candidate vaccines that is much more concrete: look at how much money they have attracted in development funding and supply agreements. Here are the COVID-19 vaccine makers who have won the cash game so far, with more than $ 1 billion in funding lined up.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Sanofi / GlaxoSmithKline

Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) take the highest honors. Last week, the two drugmakers announced that the U.S. government would provide funding of up to $ 2.1 billion to develop their adjuvanted, protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate. Sanofi and GSK will provide 100 million doses initially, assuming all goes well in clinical trials.

What’s really surprising about Sanofi and GSK’s No.1 ranking is that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate hasn’t even started a clinical trial yet. Sanofi takes the lead role in the development of the experimental vaccine. The big drugmaker hopes to start a Phase 1/2 study in September.

The US deal could get bigger in the future, with the ability for the US to purchase an additional 500 million doses of the Sanofi / GSK vaccine. Sanofi and GSK are also in talks with the European Commission and governments of other countries over the possibility of providing COVID-19 vaccine doses.

2. Novavax

Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) ranks # 2 in terms of funding among all drugmakers developing COVID-19 vaccine candidates. So far, clinical-stage biotechnology has received pledges of nearly $ 2.05 billion for its coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

Novavax first received $ 4 million in March from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to support preliminary testing of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In May, CEPI increased its funding commitment to $ 388 million. This additional money helped Novavax with the phase 2 development of NVX-CoV2373. It has also helped biotechnology to scale up its vaccine manufacture and increase production of its adjuvant Matrix-M.

In June, the US Department of Defense awarded Novavax a $ 60 million contract, with the company agreeing to supply 10 million doses of NVX-CoV2373 to the military if the vaccine received emergency use authorization. (EUA) of the Food and Drug Administration. But the very big prize came in July, when the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed ​​awarded $ 1.6 billion to Novavax to complete the late development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, expand its manufacturing capacity, and deliver 100 million doses of NVX-CoV2373 to the United States.

3. Pfizer / BioNTech

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) come close behind Novavax. The two partners have secured at least $ 1.95 billion from a supply deal with the US government.

On July 22, Pfizer and BioNTech announced an agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Defense. In exchange for $ 1.95 billion, the two companies agreed to provide 100 million doses of the lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed under the companies’ BNT162 program (pending FDA approval or a USA). The deal also gives the US government the ability to purchase an additional 500 million doses of the vaccine.

Pfizer and BioNTech arguably deserve a higher place. The two partners also entered into a supply agreement in July with the UK to deliver 30 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. However, the financial terms of this deal have not been announced.

4. AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) running neck and neck with Pfizer and BioNTech in the coronavirus-vaccine gambling game. The British drugmaker has so far raised at least $ 1.95 billion in funding for AZD1222, the COVID-19 vaccine candidate it has developed in a team with the University of Oxford.

Much of that came from a $ 1.2 billion commitment from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in May. The funds will help AstraZeneca advance clinical studies of AZD1222 and scale up manufacture of the vaccine. AstraZeneca has agreed to supply at least 300 million doses in the United States, assuming the vaccine obtains FDA or EUA approval.

AstraZeneca also signed a $ 750 million agreement with CEPI and public-private healthcare partnership Gavi in ​​June. These funds were used to support the manufacture and distribution of 300 million doses of AZD1222.

Like Pfizer and BioNTech, AstraZeneca could easily rank higher on the list. However, the financial terms of its other supply agreements, with the Serum Institute of India and the European Alliance for Inclusive Vaccines, were not disclosed.

Mention honorable

There is also a drug maker who deserves honorable mention. Modern (NASDAQ: ARNM) has received up to $ 955 million in funding from BARDA to support the development of its COVID-19 mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate.

In terms of stock market performance so far this year, however, Moderna is well ahead of all of the other major drugmakers winning the COVID-19 vaccine cash game: Biotech stock has grown by over 300%. . However, it is still far behind Novavax’s annual gain of almost 3,500%.


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