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Virus Plays in Focus as 2021 Gets in Gear (NVAX, HALB, MRNA)

The re-opening narrative is dominating activity in the market and governs decisions being made in the business economy, and with good reason. Perhaps never before has so much value been tied to such a singular and distinct dynamic.

That naturally defines the value proposition of companies working to provide those solutions. With vaccines a powerful piece of that equation, this drives eyeballs to the vaccine developers. But vaccines aren’t the only piece of the puzzle.

With that in mind, we take a look at some companies poised to make an impact, including: Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX), Halberd Corp (OTCMKTS:HALB), and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA).

 

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) bills itself as a clinical-stage biotechnology company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of recombinant nanoparticle vaccines and adjuvants. The company has been developing a COVID-19 vaccine solution that is now in phase 3 testing.

Its lead adjuvant is Matrix-M that is used to enable a vaccine to enhance the amplitude of the immune response and qualitatively change it, enhance its specificity to provide protection against related microorganisms, as well as allows immunization with much lower doses of antigen.

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) most recently announced its initiation of PREVENT-19, its pivotal Phase 3 study in the United States and Mexico to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373, the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The trial builds on research from Phase 1/2 studies demonstrating that the vaccine provoked a robust immune response, generated highly neutralizing antibodies against the virus and was generally well-tolerated.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic raging around the globe, this trial is a critical step in building the global portfolio of safe and effective vaccines to protect the world’s population,” said Stanley C. Erck, president and chief executive officer, Novavax. “We thank our colleagues and partners who continue to work with us to urgently advance our commercial-scale manufacturing processes, and we are grateful for the hard work and assistance from Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. FDA and the government of Mexico on this program.”

Even in light of this news, NVAX hasn’t really done much of anything over the past week, with shares logging no net movement over that period. NVAX shares have been relatively flat over the past month of action, with very little net movement during that period.

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) generated sales of $157M, according to information released in the company’s most recent quarterly financial report. That adds up to a sequential quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 341.8% on the top line. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($571.2M against $239.2M).

 

Halberd Corp (OTCMKTS:HALB) is another interesting play on the coronavirus theme, albeit with an alternative direction from the vaccine producers. The company recently announced that it has produced a second monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the Covid-19 spike protein. Initial testing displays a stronger affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen than Halberd’s initial antibody.

According to the company’s release, testing continues through the holidays on each antibody to establish potency and specificity (i.e., targets only the SARS-CoV-2 antigen) as well as a potential “cocktail mix” of both antibodies acting in concert.

Halberd’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Patricio Reyes, stated, “This is very promising. In our in vitro experiments, our unique antibodies demonstrated a high degree of affinity and lysis for infected cells. In vivo studies are getting under way to demonstrate their efficacy in diagnosing COVID-19 as well as preventing viral replication and multi-organ system damage associated with COVID-19.”

Halberd Corp (OTCMKTS:HALB) president and CEO, William A. Hartman, added, “We believe having multiple antibodies available not only increases our product application options, but also their effectiveness, when used in combination. Mathematically speaking, if each is 90% effective independently, then, absent any interrelationship of the two applications, the combination should be 99% effective. In other words, the prospect of obtaining diagnostic test false positives or false negatives is substantially reduced when antibodies work in tandem. The same would be true with regard to the use of antibodies in combination as a therapeutic tool as well as their use as a prophylactic measure in a nasal spray.”

HALB shares have been locked in a volatile range, but have shown strong gains since October, up about 500% since early in Q4. However, we have seen a drawn out consolidation, which could prime the stock for a new leg to the upside if its solution gains traction with market participants.

Halberd Corp (OTCMKTS:HALB) managed to rope in revenues during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data. But, with vaccine solutions already receiving some cultural pushback, demand for an alternative solution may be a big story in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) promulgates itself as a clinical stage biotechnology company that develops therapeutics and vaccines based on messenger RNA for the treatment of infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, and autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. It has a leading approved COVID-19 vaccine now in distribution around the world.

It has strategic alliances with AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) just announced that Israel’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has given authorization to import the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna in Israel.

“Today’s authorization is a landmark moment in our company’s history and in the global fight against COVID-19,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “This is the third regulatory authorization for the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, and its first outside of North America. I want to thank the Ministry of Health of Israel for their efforts, as their team have worked tirelessly alongside ours to ensure a timely authorization of this vaccine. We hope to continue to see authorizations in additional markets in the coming days, weeks and months.”

Even with that news, the action hasn’t really heated up in the stock, with shares moving net sideways over the past week.

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) pulled in sales of $157.9M in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of 826.4%. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($3.3B against $1.5B).

Published by Christine Lawrence

Christine Lawrence is a financial analyst. She loves analyzing socioeconomic trends in the background of financial moves. She has overall seven years of experience in Auditing, Finance and Writing.

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