Don’t Look Now, but Here Comes the Vaccine News Tidal Wave

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After a bit of a late summer breather, news about a Covid-19 vaccine is heating up again as a handful of leading programs move rapidly into a decisive phase.

Reports from several companies hit Thursday morning, in what could serve as an alert to investors that it is time to start paying attention to the race once again.

In one notable development, BioNTech (BNTX) and Pfizer (PFE) published data on the experimental vaccine the companies are testing in Phase 2/3 trials. It is the second of two versions of the vaccine that the company tested in Phase 1 trials. A paper published on a non-peer-reviewed preprint server says that it appears safer than the previous version.

Also on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) plans a 60,000 person trial of its Covid-19 vaccine by late next month. Phase 3 trials launched by Pfizer and Moderna (MRNA) aim to enroll 30,000 people. The Journal said it isn’t clear why the Johnson & Johnson trial aims to be twice as large.

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Meanwhile, in a call with reporters Thursday morning, a Food and Drug Administration official said that the agency’s external vaccine- advisory panel might meet on Oct. 22 to discuss a Covid-19 vaccine, according to Bloomberg. The official did not say which vaccine the panel would discuss, but Pfizer has said it hopes to have Phase 3 data on its vaccine by then.

The external advisory committee would likely need to weigh in before the FDA would issue an emergency-use authorization. And an Oct. 22 meeting would leave time for a vaccine to be approved before the election. Investors increasingly expect approval by then, despite worries from former FDA officials that the timing could undermine trust in the product.

All that comes after CureVac (CVAC) said early Thursday that it was in talks with the European Commission to sell it 225 million doses of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, sending shares of the newly public stock up 14.7%.

Shares of BioNTech were up 2% on Thursday at midday, while shares of Pfizer were up 0.6%. Shares of Moderna were down 1.1%, and shares of fellow Covid-19 vaccine developer Novavax (NVAX) were off 0.4%. Stock in Johnson & Johnson was flat,.

Don’t Look Now, but Here Comes the Vaccine News Tidal Wave Don’t Look Now, but Here Comes the Vaccine News Tidal Wave Reviewed by Anson Moore on August 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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