All the buzz right now is around Novovax and the $1.6 billion it got from the federal government for its COVID-19 vaccine. Novovax stock has been on an epic run and is now up over 2500% year-to-date. With Novovax trading over $100, it’s safe to say the big gains have already been made. The focus now is finding the next Novovax and that could be VBI Vaccines.
As you can see from the charts above, VBI Vaccines is trading at where Novovax was back in January before it started its epic bull run.
Now we know everyone is trying to find the next Novovax and here at Insider Financial have nailed a few winners during the coronavirus pandemic, namely Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna. The reason we like VBI Vaccines right now is that it already has an approved product (albeit only in one country for now), and it could win FDA approval for Sci-B-Vac next year. As we take a closer look, VBI Vaccines could be setting up for a Novavax-like move.
About VBI Vaccines
First up, here’s a little background info for those that aren’t familiar with VBI Vaccines. VBI Vaccines is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company developing the next generation of vaccines to address unmet needs in infectious disease and immuno-oncology. VBI is advancing the prevention and treatment of hepatitis B, with the only tri-antigenic hepatitis B vaccine, Sci-B-Vac®, which is approved for use and commercially available in Israel, and recently completed its Phase 3 program in the U.S., Europe, and Canada, and with an immunotherapeutic in development for a functional cure for chronic hepatitis B.
VBI’s enveloped virus-like particle (eVLP) platform technology enables the development of eVLPs that closely mimic the target virus to elicit a potent immune response. VBI’s lead eVLP programs include a vaccine immunotherapeutic candidate targeting glioblastoma (GBM), a prophylactic cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate, and a prophylactic pan-coronavirus vaccine candidate.
VBI is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, with research operations in Ottawa, Canada, and research and manufacturing facilities in Rehovot, Israel.
Sci-B-Vac, if approved, would be the only trivalent hepatitis B vaccine. Sci-B-Vac was tested in its clinical trials as a 3-dose regimen, but it also showed pretty good efficacy after just 2 doses. Sci-B-Vac is already approved in Israel. VBI expects to start submitting regulatory applications in the US, Canada, and Europe starting the 4Q 2020, which puts Sci-B-Vac on track for late 2021 approvals potentially.
Sci-B-Vac compares favorably to the prior standard-of-care vaccine, Engerix. In fact, for certain patient subsets, Sci-B-Vac has equal or greater efficacy after 2 doses to Engerix after all 3. VBI recently formed an advisory board to figure out its Sci-B-Vac commercial strategy, but VBI has been clear about its intent to find a commercial partner rather than undertaking the expense and risk of launching the product itself. Such a partnership would likely result in a substantial upfront payment to VBI as well as royalties at least in the teens which could help fund the development of the company’s pipeline.
VBI Vaccines Pipeline
Besides Sci-B-Vac, VBI Vaccines has other vaccines it is working on. As you can see, VBI Vaccines has a lot of irons in the fire. All it takes is one to hit, and you’re looking at a multi-billion dollar market cap.
The one candidate most investors are focused on is VBI-2901, a pan-coronavirus vaccine that is being developed in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada. It targets SARS and MERS in addition to COVID-19. The broader range of antibodies produced from such a vaccine could offer protection against future mutated versions of SARS-CoV-2 as well as other coronaviruses.
VBI said in its first-quarter business update that clinical study materials for human testing are expected to be ready in 4Q 2020. With the race to find a vaccine getting more urgent by the day, we could see this ramped up and VBI Vaccines get an influx of cash like Novovax.
Right now everyone is chasing coronavirus vaccine plays. Some will work, while others won’t. With VBI Vaccines, you’re not only investing in a coronavirus vaccine play but also Hepatitis B and Glioblastoma potential as well. This is why we like VBI Vaccines and think the stock has a lot of potential. All it takes is one pr to send VBI Vaccines flying, especially with almost 10% of the float short.
As always, good luck to all (except the shorts)!
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Disclosure: We have no position in NASDAQ:VBIV or any of the securities mentioned. We wrote this article ourselves and it expresses our own opinions. We are not receiving compensation for it. We have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.