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New Approaches to Covid-19 Treatment Enter the Picture

The Covid-19 treatment response process includes a number of different major players, including Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), BioNTech SE – ADR (NASDAQ: BNTX), Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ: AZN), Novavax Inc (NASDAQ: NVAX), Halberd Corp (OTC US: HALB), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).

The pandemic is under control. Or is it? In much of the developing world, this is far from the case. Only about 12% of people in the world have had access to vaccines. And new mutated variants are popping up all around the world every day.

Sooner or later, those mutated variants will start to fall outside the efficacy boundaries of our current vaccine solutions, and we will have to start working on vaccine 2.0. Then vaccine 3.0. On and on it will go.

Suffice it to say, the effort needs to be comprehensive and multifaceted if we are to be successful over the long term in this battle. And that process may need to include some different approaches.

With that in mind, we take a look a few of the more interesting stocks in the Covid-19 space.

 

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.

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 that it has finalized an advance purchase agreement (APA) with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) for supply of its recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate to the COVAX Facility. Under the APA, Novavax is expected to manufacture and distribute 350 million doses of NVX-CoV2373 to countries participating under the COVAX Facility, which was established to allocate and distribute vaccines equitably to participating countries and economies. Under a separate purchase agreement with Gavi, the Serum Institute of India (Serum Institute) is expected to manufacture and deliver the balance of the 1.1 billion doses of Novavax’ vaccine.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to partner with global organizations focused on accelerating equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in countries where vaccination rates are currently low,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax. “This arrangement is the culmination of a collaboration among CEPI, Gavi, Serum Institute and Novavax, who are partnering in our urgent mission to deliver significant amounts of vaccines to all countries, regardless of income level. Novavax thanks CEPI for its longstanding support and tireless work with Gavi as the curators of the COVAX Facility.”

Even in light of this news, NVAX has had a rough past week of trading action, with shares sinking something like -26% in that time. That said, chart support is nearby and we may be in the process of constructing a nice setup for some movement back the other way. NVAX shares have been relatively flat over the past month of action, with very little net movement during that period.

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ: NVAX) managed to rope in revenues totaling $279.7M in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 3072.2%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($804.9M against $579.7M).

 

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 the appointment of Dr. Mitchell S. Felder, previously a consultant to Halberd Corporation, to the position of Chief Technical Officer. Dr. Patricio Reyes, former Chief Technical Officer, has requested reduced duties due to pressing other outside commitments, but will continue to serve as a valuable contributor to the company moving forward, as a consultant.

According to the release, Dr. Felder is a Board-Certified Neurologist and is the author of numerous patents, including critical patents on the development of radio frequency and laser emissive energy in the extracorporeal eradication of disease. Dr. Felder, in his new role, will oversee the coordination of testing in these fields at three university-affiliated organizations.

Halberd Corp (OTCMKTS: HALB) president and CEO, William A. Hartman, stated, “This move will not only fill the spot vacated by Dr. Reyes, but is intended to maximize the benefits of our R&D tests at Youngstown State University, where we intend to conduct simultaneous experimentations on both radio frequency and laser methods to eradicate E. coli bacteria from water, as a prelude to eradicating disease from bodily fluids. Most of the required equipment and supplies have either been recently secured or are already on hand, and the start of testing is imminent and may have already begun. Tests on other pathogens, including Covid-19 will be conducted after demonstrating success in eliminating E. coli bacteria from distilled water, initially, and subsequently from human bodily fluids. Halberd’s technology is protected via two existing patents on the requisite extra-corporeal (outside the body) process and eight related provisional patent applications filed in the last year.”

Hartman added, “Our scientists believe that the advantage of radio frequency and lasers to eradicate disease antigens is that virtually no disease would be immune from these processes, and there would be virtually none of the side effects associated with the application of conventional internal medications for disease treatment. We are exploring both radio frequency and lasers to eradicate disease so that the most appropriate methodology can be applied to each specific disease. If successful, these processes could revolutionize the worldwide medical industry.”

HALB shares have been rising over the past 8 months, pushing about 500% higher in that time. Over that period, the stock’s upward trend has held firm, and it has seen numerous rallies spurred by successive tests of the trendline. Here we are again, as the stock is testing the trendline support for the umpteenth time since last November. It may represent yet another trend test opportunity for new investors. Keep it on the radar.

Halberd Corp (OTCMKTS: HALB) with vaccine solutions against COVID-19 already receiving some cultural pushback, demand for alternative solution(s) may be a big story in the weeks and months ahead. The company may be one of the few that has the capacity to offer something materially different to the established paradigm.

 

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 reported financial results and provided business updates for the first quarter 2021 and highlighted pipeline progress, including increased 2021 supply forecast to between 800 million and 1 billion doses; making additional investments to increase global supply for COVID-19 Vaccine to up to 3 billion doses in 2022 (depending on the mix); the company recently announced data supporting 3-month refrigerated (2-8°C) stable formulation; and new data shows a single booster dose of 50 µg of mRNA-1273 or mRNA-1273.351 increased neutralizing titers against SARS-CoV-2 and two variants of concern (B.1.351, P.1) in previously vaccinated clinical trial participants.

“In the first quarter, the Moderna team delivered on its supply commitments to many governments and helped protect more than 100 million people. This accomplishment translated into our first profitable quarter in the company’s history, after 10 years of scientific innovation and several billion dollars invested to make our mRNA platform a reality,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “Based on these first quarter accomplishments and our current manufacturing scale-up trajectory, we were pleased to again increase our base plan for 2021 to 800 million doses. The Moderna team and our manufacturing partners are working hard to get as close to 1 billion doses in 2021 as we can. The feedback from governments around the world requesting high-efficacy mRNA vaccines and variant boosters is overwhelming. We are now actively engaged in discussions and agreements for 2022 with all of the governments we are currently supplying for 2021. On top of that, new partnerships, like COVAX, for up to 466 million doses in 2022 and discussions with new governments in Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, make us believe that our total advance purchase agreements for 2022 should be higher than those in 2021.”

The stock has suffered a bit of late, with shares of MRNA taking a hit in recent action, down about -9% over the past week.

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) pulled in sales of $570.7M in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top-line growth of 3960.8%. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($4.6B against $4.4B).

 

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