Who Is Winning the COVID-19 Vaccine Race?

Deborah D’Souza

A vaccine is key to ending the COVID-19 pandemicMorgan Stanley names six candidates under development to watchAnalysts say millions of doses could be available by fallMarket will be worth $10-30 billion during pandemic, $2-25 billion annually after

Experts including the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell believe that a complete economic recovery is only possible once a vaccine against the mysterious and deadly novel coronavirus is discovered. Shares in Moderna (MRNA) are over 20% higher today after the biotech company announced positive data from a Phase 1 study of its COVID-19 vaccine. Two weeks after receiving two doses of 25 micrograms or 100 micrograms each, all participants had levels of binding antibodies at or exceeding that of convalescent sera (blood samples from people who have recovered from the disease).

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 is one of six vaccine candidates that have both a reasonable likelihood of clinical success and can be manufactured at scale to be relevant, according to a new report from Morgan Stanley. Analysts looked closely at the 110 candidates that currently exist and decided that the following six organizations/collaborators have the best chance of winning the vaccine race :

CanSino BiologicsUniversity of Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZN)BioNTech (BNTX)/Pfizer (PFE)Moderna/NIHJohnson & Johnson (JNJ)Sanofi (SNY)/GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Morgan Stanley also predicted timelines and production capacities for each candidate. Novavax (NVAX) is not on the brokerage’s list but shares in the company have also been surging since it announced last week that Bill Gates’ Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is investing a total of $388 million to advance the clinical development of its vaccine candidate.

Source: Morgan Stanley.

There are 7.7 billion people in the world and experts are hoping more than a single effective vaccine emerges so that demand can be met. “Based on current company commentary, we believe millions of doses of the vaccine could be available in the fall, 10-30M/month by YE20 and 100s of millions per month by mid-2021,” said the note. However, bottlenecks, like shortages of medical glass, could slow delivery. AstraZeneca yesterday claimed it will manufacture 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford Uni. for the U.K. this year and 30 million of those by September.

Analysts believe the market for COVID-19 vaccines would be between $10-30 billion during the pandemic and $2-25 billion annually during the endemic phase when mutations, unvaccinated populations or new child birth will drive demand. For this calculation they assumed that 1.8 billion people would be served by Western companies, with India, China and Russia developing their own, and U.S. pricing at $10- 20/treatment, Western Europe at $5-15 and the remaining countries at $5-10.

Source: Morgan Stanley.

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