Smallpox is driving up the share price of these companies

Growing concerns about the outbreak of smallpox in Europe and the United States have led to a rise in shares of several vaccine and pharmaceutical companies.

Although infections are rare outside of Central and West Africa, according to the World Health Organization, 92 cases of the smallpox virus have been confirmed in non-endemic countries, including Europe and the United States, as of Saturday.

Last year, at least three cases were confirmed in the United States, including one of an adult male who recently traveled from Canada to Massachusetts. (No deaths were reported.)

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned health workers about recent clusters, and President Joe Biden said monkeys were “something to worry about.”

Several companies that develop smallpox vaccines or therapists have seen stock prices rise, and some of those pharmaceutical manufacturers may be familiar with investors focusing on increased stocks in early 2020 after China first unveiled a new coronavirus outbreak. SARS-CoV-2 was discovered in Wuhan.

These include:

  • GeoVax Labs Inc. GOVX,
    + 66.91%,
    Its shares rose 70% in trading on Monday afternoon. The company, which does not have licensed or approved products, is focusing on Ankara-based modified vaccine (MVA) technology. “Also, the main thing to keep in mind is that when monkeys appeared, health authorities turned directly to MVA; its effectiveness, safety and durability have been proven,” Maxim Group spokesman Jason McCarthy told investors. . ”GeoVax is developing a booster and vaccine for people with weakened immune systems, including COVID-19 vaccines, but those vaccines are still in phase 2 clinical trials.

  • Emergent Biosolutions Inc. EBS,
    + 3.79%,
    its shares rose 7.3% in trading on Monday. Emergent has an FDA-approved ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine; The company also announced last week that it had acquired exclusive rights to CMRX from Chimerix Inc.

    The antiviral treatment for smallpox, Tembex, is under contract for up to $ 337.5 million, as well as royalties. “Emergent now offers the widest product line to fight monkey / smallpox in the United States and around the world,” Benchmark’s Robert Wasserman wrote in a note to investors last week. Emergent Johnson & Johnson faced production challenges for JNJ,
    + 2.04%
    In the first pandemic, the COVID-19 vaccine slowed the release of the pharmaceutical giant.

  • Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. I NO,
    + 2.13%,
    recently dismissed its CVID-19 vaccine plans and fired the CEO. Its shares rose 4% on Monday. In 2010, the company introduced an experimental smallpox vaccine into a pre-clinical study that evaluated its effectiveness against monkey smallpox. The last time Inovio updated in 2011 was on testing investors.

There was a lot of activity for another group of vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturers, including:

  • Follow Technologies Inc. TO WATCH,
    -12.66%,
    Its shares fell 8.0% in trading on Monday. Last week, the company received permission from the FDA to administer Tpoxx intravenously to treat smallpox. This treatment has already been approved as oral therapy in Canada, Europe and the United States. Earlier this month, the company said the Department of Defense had awarded a $ 7.5 million contract to purchase an oral dose of Tpoxx.

  • Bavarian Nordic BVNKF,
    -6.77%,
    Shares fell 4.6% on Monday afternoon. The company has an MVA vaccine against smallpox and monkey smallpox, which is called Jynneos, Imvamune or Imvanex. It said last week that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority had used the opportunity to purchase 13 million doses of Jynneos for $ 119 million.

Despite the crossroads between companies claiming to be developing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and those working on smallpox vaccines and treatments, there are several key differences between SARS-CoV-2 and smallpox infections, including U.S. readiness. .

Analysts at Raymond James say the United States has already developed smallpox vaccines to protect against the disease in monkeys.

“We have vaccines against it,” the doctor said. White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Ja told The Week on Sunday. “We have drugs against it. And it is distributed very differently than SARS-CoV-2. It is not as contagious as COVID. I hope we can hug him. ”

The first case of monkey disease was detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 50 years ago, and the first outbreak of monkeys in the United States occurred in 2003, when it was associated with about 43 people in six states. According to Raymond James analysts, field dogs are kept near animals imported from Ghana.

Analysts at Raymond James told investors this week, “Based on what we understand about the circulating strain, we believe the U.S. is much more prepared for monkey smallpox than some other infectious diseases.”

S&P 500 SPX,
+ 1.86%
decreased by 18.1% this year.

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