U.S. President Donald Trump has put his faith in anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to ward off COVID-19, but governments and investors are focusing on a vaccine. Without one, it’s unlikely economic activity can resume fully.
So the race is on, and the rewards are rich: AstraZeneca has vaulted into the position of the most valuable British company after receiving a U.S. pledge for up to $1.2 billion for its experimental vaccine.
Pharma/biotech shares have outperformed broader equities since Feb 19. Investors twitchy for vaccine news sent the share price of biotech company Moderna 20% higher when it said its vaccine trials showed promise. Rivals Novavax and Inovio also rose when they secured vaccine development funding.
The United States has vaccine development deals with Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi, too. But many others, big and small, are in the race: Imperial College, Gilead Sciences, Roche, China’s CanSino Biologics and India’s Glenmark to name just a few.