China is facing an outbreak of the coronavirus, which may have spread to a few other countries in East Asia. Although less than 300 infections have been reported, there are concerns about this becoming the next epidemic. As a result, experimental vaccine stocks are skyrocketing.
This harkens back to a few years ago when the Ebola virus poised a threat to the international community and biotech companies were quick to pursue a treatment and vaccine. At that time, practically any company that said it was developing anything related to Ebola saw a boost from the news. As more news poured in, these companies kept running. Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) saw some its biggest gains then.
As for the coronavirus, there have been 275 confirmed infections and at least six deaths stemming from an outbreak in Wuhan City, according to Chinese authorities. Infections have been reported in Japan, South Korea and Thailand as well.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to pneumonia. It primarily affects the respiratory system. In the past, coronaviruses have manifested as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and, most recently, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Currently, three U.S. airports (JFK, LAX and San Francisco) are screening passengers arriving from the Wuhan Province, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Here are a few biotech companies with exposure to experimental vaccines whose shares are seeing the biggest boost from this news:
Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) shares closed Tuesday up 71% to $9.82, in a 52-week range of $3.54 to $48.80. The consensus price target is $13.75.
NanoViricides Inc. (NYSE: NNVC) shares closed up 153% at $8.50. The 52-week range is $1.27 to $13.60.
Aethlon Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: AEMD) shares clpsed up 12%, at $2.31in a 52-week range of $0.76 to $21.75. The consensus price target is $3.00.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) shares closed up 8% to $3.56. The 52-week range is $1.92 to $5.11, and the consensus price target is $9.43.
Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCY) shares closed up 14.5% to $3.55, in a 52-week range of $0.35 to $6.02.