The development and distribution of vaccines have been making headlines amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and this past week was no exception.
Novavax Inc. (NVAX), which was up 74%, was one of the top gainers for the week ending January 29, 2021, thanks to encouraging trial results of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In a phase III trial, conducted in UK, the two-dose regimen of Novavax vaccine NVX-CoV2373 has been found to have an efficacy rate of 89.3%.
Vaxart Inc. (VXRT), with returns of nearly 68%, was another winner of the week as the company reported new pre-clinical histology data showing that its oral vaccine protected against lung inflammation in hamster models.
The use of digital services in the healthcare domain has vastly increased as a result of the pandemic. Conversion Labs Inc. (CVLB), a telemedicine company, closed at a record high of $20.82 on Friday, reflecting a weekly gain of nearly 88%.
Now, let’s take a look at the biotech/pharma stocks that merit attention in the week beginning February 1st.
1. Kamada Ltd. (KMDA)
Kamada is a commercial-stage company focused on developing plasma-derived protein therapeutics for rare diseases. The company is also leveraging its expertise in the plasma-derived Immunoglobulin (IgGs) technology platform to develop an IgG product as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
A phase I/II clinical trial of the company’s anti-SARS-CoV-2 plasma-derived immunoglobulin (IgG) product as a potential treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is ongoing in Israel. This study, started in August 2020, has enrolled 12 hospitalized non-ventilated COVID-19 patients with pneumonia. The top-line results, due in January, are awaited.
There is a supply agreement in place with the Israeli Ministry of Health for the investigational IgG product for COVID-19, with the initial order expected to generate $3.4 million in revenue for the company this quarter.
KMDA closed Friday’s trading at $6.47, up 1.09%.
2. Amgen Inc (AMGN)
The FDA decision on Amgen’s Nplate, for the proposed indication of Hematopoietic Syndrome of Acute Radiation Syndrome, due on January 28, 2021, is yet to be announced.
Hematopoietic Syndrome is one of the three subtypes of Acute Radiation Syndrome and is characterized by symptoms of anorexia, nausea and vomiting.
Nplate, which is effective in boosting the production of platelets (blood-clotting cells) in the body, is already approved for the treatment of thrombocytopenia in patients with chronic immune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disorder in which platelets are destroyed leading to poor platelet count.
The drug brought home sales of $212 million for Amgen in the third quarter of 2020 compared to $195 million in the year-ago quarter.
AMGN closed Friday’s trading at $241.43, down 2.55%.
3. Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ADMS)
Adamas is a commercial-stage pharmaceutical company with a growing portfolio of therapies for neurological diseases.
The flagship product is GOCOVRI, a FDA-approved medicine for the treatment of dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease receiving levodopa-based therapy, with or without concomitant dopaminergic medicines.
The company has sought FDA approval to modify the indication statement for GOCOVRI to include treatment for Parkinson’s disease patients receiving levodopa and experiencing OFF episodes, and a decision is expected on February 1, 2021.
The product sales of GOCOVRI are estimated to be $19.8 million for fourth quarter 2020 and $71.2 million for full year 2020. GOCOVRI recorded sales of $16.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, and $54.6 million for 2019.
ADMS closed Friday’s trading at $5.91, up 10.06%.
4. Vaxart Inc. (VXRT)
Vaxart is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing oral recombinant vaccines that are delivered in tablet formulation rather than as injection.
The company is developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine based on its VAAST platform, and it is currently under phase I stage. The pre-clinical histology data, announced recently, has shown that Vaxart’s oral vaccine offered protection against lung inflammation in hamster models.
The company expects to report data from the phase I COVID-19 trial in the coming week (week beginning February 1st).
VXRT closed Friday’s (Jan.29, 2021) trading at $11.98, up 34.30%.
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