In the strange and sometimes twisted world of stocks investing, a commonly-heard aphorism is that with every crisis comes great opportunity. Some of mankind’s biggest existential threats such as climate change, nuclear war, rogue biotechnology and even artificial intelligence can also create huge opportunities for investors as asset classes react to changing environments.
The Covid-19 pandemic squarely falls in this category.
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on March 11, 2021, dozens of stocks that belong to companies that have come up with viable vaccines--as well as some with very promising ones--have managed to notch triple or even quadruple digit returns.
Returns on vaccine stocks have varied greatly, with a leading factor for the discrepancy in stock price performance being the revenue potential from vaccine sales relative to the rest of the existing business. As such, vaccines by smaller companies like Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) have had a much greater impact than those by giants like Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE).
Why is this important? To put it into perspective, Wall Street is expecting total vaccine sales to top $100 billion, with $40 billion in post-tax profits.
Here are the most profitable Covid-19 vaccine stocks in terms of capital gains.
Source: Visual Capitalist
- Revenue (TTM): $475.6 Million
- Market Cap: $16.4 billion
- 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 1,126%
Over the past few months, hopes have been growing that a little-known U.S. drugmaker can shore up supplies in the U.S. and elsewhere as safety concerns and supply chain snags overshadow vaccines by more prominent drug companies.
Vaccine upstart Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) has emerged as the most profitable developer after its vaccine proved to be just as potent as those mRNA shots by the giants.
NVAX stock has jumped more than 1,110% since the pandemic became a worldwide scourge, never mind that the company has really struggled to scrape together the tens of thousands of doses needed for its clinical trials, or the fact that it has never brought a product to the market.
On Tuesday, Novavax hit session highs, up 15% on the day after President Joe Biden mentioned that the Novavax Covid vaccine could be another tool used to fight the pandemic.
Novavax is currently testing its two-dose protein-based COVID-19 vaccine in phase 3 trial in the U.S., a reported encouraging results from a trial in the U.K. showing that the vaccine is 96 percent effective in preventing both the original COVID-19 strain and the U.K. variant B.117. That’s even better than mRNA-based vaccines by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA).
- Revenue (TTM): $803.4 Million
- Market Cap: $71.1 billion
- 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 282%
Shortly after Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) reported that their joint mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, had demonstrated nearly 95% efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infections in ~44,000 test patients about six months ago, Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) reported that its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, had demonstrated similar efficacy as the Pfizer vaccine but remained stable at more manageable temperatures of 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F).
It’s, therefore, hardly surprising that MRNA stock has garnered the second-best returns among Covid-19 stock.
More importantly, in the first real-world study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that the two messenger RNA-based vaccines have demonstrated ~95% effectiveness against severe COVID-19 based on Phase 3 topline data.
That’s significant as Americans become increasingly wary of the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) vaccine as per a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.
- Revenue (TTM): $567.3 Million
- Market Cap: $42.2 billion
- 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 250%
German-based BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) might not be a household name like its much bigger peer Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), but is every bit as impressive.
Together, the two pharmaceuticals developed the most widely known Covid-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, the predominant vaccine in the United States. The vaccine has demonstrated nearly 95% efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infections, including an impressive 94% efficacy in people over 65 years old. The vaccine continues being in high demand, with the UK having secured an additional 60M doses to be used as booster shots.
The best part: BionTech boasts a topline 50x smaller than its giant partner, and this is clearly being reflected in their share returns since the launch of the vaccine.
By Fred Dunkley