Dynavax Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: DVAX) shares made a handy gain on Thursday after the company announced that it would be entering the coronavirus vaccine business. While the stock move is not as significant as those of other COVID-19 vaccine stocks have been, it raises a couple of questions. Is Dynavax late to the party in developing a vaccine, and is the market for coronavirus vaccines getting oversaturated?
In its release, Dynavax said that it would be partnering with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Ultimately, Dynavax is looking to leverage its proprietary toll-like receptor 9 agonist adjuvant, CpG 1018, for the development of effective vaccines against COVID-19.
Some background: CpG 1018 is the adjuvant used in Heplisa-B (hepatitis B vaccine [recombinant], adjuvanted), an adult hepatitis B vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dynavax developed CpG 1018 to provide an increased vaccine immune response, which has been demonstrated in Heplisa-B. CpG 1018 provides a well‑developed technology and a significant safety database, potentially accelerating the development and large-scale manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ryan Spencer, CEO of Dynavax, commented:
Dynavax’s mission is to develop and commercialize innovative vaccines to prevent disease and support patients. We are proud to support CEPI’s efforts to address this global public health emergency with our advanced adjuvant technology.
Other companies developing vaccines have seen their stock make massive gains. Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) are two prime examples. Investors may have had their fill of coronavirus stocks by this point, with the broad markets moving higher in the past few days and other investment opportunities on the rise.
Dynavax stock traded up about 5% at $3.48, in a 52-week range of $1.80 to $8.19. The consensus price target is $13.67.