• Report: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Delayed
    Motley Fool

    Report: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Delayed

    According to a report published Thursday on biotech industry news site STAT, citing investigators presumably involved in the research, a phase 3 clinical trial of Moderna's (NASDAQ: MRNA) mRNA-1273 has been delayed. This delay, the length of which was not specified, is due to the fact that Moderna is modifying the protocol of the research. The phase 3 trial, involving around 30,000 patients, was to begin this month.

  • These 3 Things Could Send Novavax's Stock Soaring to New Heights
    Motley Fool

    These 3 Things Could Send Novavax's Stock Soaring to New Heights

    If you had bought Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) stock at the beginning of the year, you would be a happy investor right now. Shares of this biotech company have skyrocketed by almost 2,000% year to date, a rare feat even within the volatile biotech industry. Novavax has been able to achieve these returns thanks to its involvement in the hunt for a vaccine for COVID-19.

  • Why Inovio Pharmaceuticals Stock Is Bouncing Back Today
    Motley Fool

    Why Inovio Pharmaceuticals Stock Is Bouncing Back Today

    Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO) were bouncing back on Thursday after being clobbered earlier this week. The biotech stock still has a long way to go to make up its lost ground. Inovio's shares were down 37% this week as of the close on Wednesday.

  • Pfizer Reports Encouarging Data From Coronavirus Program
    Zacks

    Pfizer Reports Encouarging Data From Coronavirus Program

    Pfizer (PFE) announces promising preliminary data on a vaccine candidate from its early-stage coronavirus program under which it is developing four mRNA-based vaccine candidates.

  • Amgen Gets Favorable Appeals Court Ruling for Enbrel Patent
    Zacks

    Amgen Gets Favorable Appeals Court Ruling for Enbrel Patent

    An appeals court ruled in Amgen's (AMGN) favor in a case challenging the validity of two patents on its top-selling medicine, Enbrel.

  • Investing.com

    Moderna Falls After Reportedly Delaying Covid-19 Vaccine Trial

    Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) fell 5%. In a blow to the company's expectations to roll out key data from its coronavirus vaccine by Thanksgiving, Moderna's 30,000-patient trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, expected to start next week, has been delayed following changes to the protocol, Statnews reported. The trial could still get underway in July as the company looks "close to being on target," Statnews said, citing one investigator.

  • Will Legal Problems Bankrupt Johnson & Johnson?
    Motley Fool

    Will Legal Problems Bankrupt Johnson & Johnson?

    A flurry of legal challenges is always a good reason for investors to be wary of a company. Lawsuits related to its talc-based products and the company's role in the opioid crisis present some of the biggest risks to long-term investors. Although J&J may be able to manage those legal challenges today, that doesn't mean it always will.

  • Gilead's Coronavirus Drug Being Stocked by the US Government
    Zacks

    Gilead's Coronavirus Drug Being Stocked by the US Government

    Gilead's (GILD) coronavirus drug, remdesivir, is being stocked by the Trump administration through September.

  • 2 Healthcare Stocks That Could Soar in 2020
    Motley Fool

    2 Healthcare Stocks That Could Soar in 2020

    As a result, America is the only developed country in the world where cases of the deadly respiratory illness are marking new all-time highs. Since the beginning of the year, shares of telemedicine giant Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) have rallied by 128%. In the first quarter of 2020, new registrations on Teladoc's platform surged by more than 125% over the prior year.

  • Bloomberg

    Markets May Have a Reason to Rise Along With Covid-19 Cases

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The Nasdaq Composite hit a record Wednesday, as the S&P 500 rose for the third straight day. This happened even with the Covid-19 pandemic growing in multiple states, and on the same day California and New York rolled back plans to allow restaurants to serve customers indoors.Anyone looking for a convergence between markets and the state of the economy can point to the pullback in travel-related stocks since the growth in the number of coronavirus cases in Arizona, Florida and Texas began in early June. But with Wednesday bringing good news about a vaccine candidate from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE, and with Phase 3 trials for other vaccines set to begin this month, we could begin seeing an even bigger divergence between the real-time economic data and a rosier future priced in by markets.Up until now, there’s an argument that markets have largely followed the progression of the virus and economic momentum, even if markets are priced for a much stronger economic environment than the U.S. was experiencing at July’s onset. Stocks crashed between the latter part of February and the latter part of March as awareness grew about the spread of the virus and the U.S. saw a rolling wave of shutdowns of various forms of economic activity. Stocks bottomed on March 23, the same week that initial jobless claims peaked at 6.8 million.The early part of April through the early part of June was the sweet spot for the progression of the virus, the economic recovery and the stock market. The 7-day moving average of new virus cases in the U.S. initially peaked on April 10, which happened to be the low point for hotel occupancy and passenger air traffic. Stocks rallied as the economy was reopening, jobless claims were falling and virus case counts were declining even as the amount of testing was increasing.But since the early part of June there’s been a setback. Virus case counts reached new highs in some Southern states that reopened their economies after they weren’t hit as hard by Covid-19 in March and April. The Airline Index has fallen over 25% from its June 8 peak, some governors have ordered bars and dine-in restaurants closed again, states in the Northeast are imposing quarantines on visitors from hot spots, and there are signs that credit card spending may be slowing. For the first month since March, we could see both a worsening public health crisis and a deterioration in the economic data in July.At the same time, the timeline for a vaccine and intermediate medical treatments may be getting closer. Moderna Inc. is expected to begin Phase 3 trials for its vaccine candidate in July, with up to 30,000 people getting a small dose. Other vaccine candidates are close behind, with Pfizer and BioNtech’s entry proving safe and to have prompted patients to produce antibodies in a small early trial. On Tuesday, infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci repeated before Congress that a vaccine could be widely available by early 2021, and the Food and Drug Administration re leased its guidelines for approving inoculations. Although there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever have a vaccine, it may not be long before the conventional wisdom on vaccine availability shifts from 12 to 18 months to more like within 6 months.Over the next month or two then, we could be grappling with the conflicting narratives of a worsening pandemic but more clarity around the timeline and effectiveness of an eventual vaccine. It’s possible that markets, like they were in March, will be gripped by the fear and uncertainty about knock-on effects from the pandemic hurting economic activity, employment and corporate profits. But it’s just as possible that if investors have more confidence that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, markets will look past whatever deterioration we get in the short-term with their focus turning to an end to the public health crisis and a stronger economic recovery in 2021.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 3 Reasons Moderna Is a Better Coronavirus Stock Than Inovio
    Motley Fool

    3 Reasons Moderna Is a Better Coronavirus Stock Than Inovio

    If you only looked at stock performance, you might conclude that Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO) is a better coronavirus stock than Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA). While Moderna's share price has more than tripled so far in 2020, Inovio stock has skyrocketed more than 700%. There's a strong case to be made that Moderna is actually the better pick of these two coronavirus-focused biotech stocks.

  • Bloomberg

    $600 or $3,120? Gilead Puts a Price Tag on Covid-19 Relief

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- While a world awash in a pandemic awaits a coronavirus vaccine, Gilead Sciences Inc. is bringing a treatment to market.Remdesivir is an experimental drug that may help Covid-19 patients recover more quickly — but it doesn’t immunize them. Its price tag is $600 for a series of six treatments for patients who live in developing countries where Gilead, to its credit, allows a generic version to be sold. If patients live in a developed country and the government insures them or provides their health care, it costs $2,340. If they have private insurance and live in the U.S., it costs $3,120. (And that’s if six treatments work; some patients are expected to need 12 treatments, so those prices could double.)That sounds like a lot of money to me. But it doesn’t sound like a lot to Gilead’s chief executive officer, Daniel O’Day.O’Day noted in a letter posted on his company’s website on Monday that remdesivir is priced “well below” the “value” it provides. He defined that “value” as the amount Gilead has determined providers and patients save (about $12,000) by shortening treatment times in hospitals. “There is no playbook for how to price a new medicine in a pandemic,” O’Day wrote. “In normal circumstances, we would price a medicine according to the value it provides.”Using already exorbitant hospitalization costs as a benchmark for value is a neat trick, but Geoffrey Porges, a prominent biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst, is on the same page as O’Day.“It’s unprecedented to price the drug below the medical costs that it’s saving,” Porges told NPR, saying he thought remdesivir could save as much as a whopping $40,000 per patient. Wait, there’s more. “That ignores the enormous societal value that everybody else gets from making a patient less infectious, for getting a patient back into the community, for getting them back to work sooner,” he added. “All of those societal benefits aren’t even considered in this price.”Just for speculation’s sake, what would all those societal benefits add up to? Another $40,000 per patient? $100,000? $1 million? Pick your number because any figure, in the context of squishy and hard-to-quantify externalities, will be squishy and hard to quantify.Porges has also invoked history when weighing in on remdesivir’s price tag. “If you are going to war, or preparing for war in a capitalist country, you have to let business make money out of the process or business won’t work,” he wrote in a note to investors in early June, quoting a famous diary entry of former Secretary of War Henry Stimson during World War II.There’s no question that the world is at war with Covid-19, and there’s nothing wrong with a business making money, of course. Profits are a fundamental incentive. But they frequently aren’t the only incentive. And the interesting and troubling arguments raised by remdesivir’s price have plagued the pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses for quite some time. Mother Nature, clothed in a pandemic, is forcing an overdue adjudication of their merits.Big Pharma has asserted for years that hefty prices are rewards for hefty expenses, traditionally identified as all of the research and development spending that contributes to the cost of inventing and producing blockbuster drugs. Pharma’s R&D costs are relatively lofty compared to other industries and may amount to about 17% of revenue — a figure surpassed only, perhaps, by the R&D spending of semiconductor manufacturers and some other tech companies.A Tufts University study published in 2016 said it costs, on average, about $2.6 billion to develop a drug that wins the federal government’s marketing blessing. The Tufts research group that prepared the study receives a significant portion of its funding from the industry, and its estimate was based on an analysis of 106 randomly selected drugs that 10 pharmaceutical companies tested on human subjects between 1995 and 2007.Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, has fileted the Tufts study, saying only $1.4 billion of the $2.6 billion figure represents actual developments costs (with the other $1.2 billion accounted for as opportunity costs incurred by not pursuing other investments). Public Citizen said that even the $1.4 billion figure contained inflated assumptions about expenditures, derived in part from a focus on only the most expensive drugs. It said the Tufts study didn’t fully account for generous government grants that typically provide, perhaps, as much as a fifth of pharma companies’ research spending. Pharmaceutical companies also often enjoy monopoly pricing and have used patent laws to keep competitors at bay.Sometimes, Big Pharma just buys pre-developed drugs, which means its R&D costs are even less substantial. For example, more than a decade ago, an Emory University professor who was also a government researcher developed a treatment for hepatitis C. He set up a small firm to develop the drug further. After more progress was made a big biotech firm came along in 2011 and bought the startup for $11 billion. That buyer was Gilead.Gilead priced its hepatitis C treatment, Sovaldi, at $84,000, allowing it to recoup most of the billions it spent buying the launch-ready drug by the end of the first year it went on sale. Sovaldi’s sky-high price, and Gilead’s pricing practices, subsequently became hot-button issues. Deploying the same argument it later used to defend remdesivir’s price, Gilead said Sovaldi’s rich price was warranted because the drug helped hospitals and patients spend less, overall, on treatments.Public Citizen has criticized Gilead for how it’s now pricing remdesivir, pointing out that it received $70 million in public funds to develop the drug. Gilead says it will have spent $1 billion developing and distributing remdesivir by the end of this year. A nonprofit group that assesses how drugs are priced, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, or ICER, said Gilead demonstrated “restraint” by setting a “responsible” price for remdesivir. As my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Max Nisen has already pointed out, advocating a rock-bottom price for remdesivir that merely allows Gilead to recover its development costs is unreasonable — and possibly misguided if it undermines further private-sector incentives to pursue innovative research.Still, the pharmaceutical industry has been stubbornly opaque about how much it truly spends developing drugs. It has successfully lobbied for years against regulations and revised accounting standards that might force it to be more transparent about how much all of its recipes cost.As STAT, a health-care news site, has observed, ICER had a very elastic grip of Gilead’s costs and pricing for remdesivir. If remdesivir doesn’t end up saving lives, ICER said the drug might be worth just $310. It also pointed out that to recoup its expenses developing the drug, Gilead could charge anywhere from $10 to $1,600 per patient — a huge range that doesn’t instill confidence about how well outsiders truly understand Gilead’s costs.And, again, that’s the core problem: There isn’t enough transparency in the pharmaceutical industry. Until the industry is far more open about its true costs, there’s no reason to take it at its word when it discusses expenses.Stonewalling critics might have worked in the past, when the importance of public health could be shunted aside or the threat of pandemics seemed less apparent. Now that Covid-19 has taught the world that some diseases are freighted with economic and national security threats and have the capacity to expose social injustices along the way, figuring out fair drug prices probably won’t be left to private companies, investors and captive regulators alone.A more muscular role for the federal government in drug development may lie ahead and Big Pharma may come to be seen and treated like a public utility — with all of the regulation and transparency that entails. Prices, in a post-pandemic world steeling itself against future pandemics, might not be set according to what the market will bear and what drug companies can get away with.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Timothy L. O'Brien is a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Investing.com

    Stocks - U.S. Futures Higher; Jobs Data Ahead

    U.S. stocks are set to open higher Thursday, rallying ahead of the three-day weekend amid growing confidence of an economic recovery despite the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in many states. At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 21 points, or 0.7%, higher, Nasdaq Futures up 45 points, or 0.4%. The Dow Futures contract rose 259 points, or 1%.

  • Investing.com

    Dollar Weakens; Potential Vaccine Boosts Risk Sentiment

    The dollar was on the defensive in early European trade Thursday, with traders turning to perceived riskier currencies amid optimism surrounding a potential Covid-19 vaccine as well as solid economic data. News emerged late Wednesday that a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Biontech (NASDAQ:BNTX) produced positive results in early-stage human trials, raising optimism that an antidote to the virus which has infected over 10 million and killed over 500,000 people can be found. This followed economic data which had suggested that a global recovery is starting to gain momentum:  U.S. manufacturing activity rebounded more than expected in June, with the manufacturing activity index by the Institute for Supply Management, released Wednesday, hitting its highest in 14 months.

  • Investing.com

    Stocks - Europe Seen Higher on Virus Vaccine Optimism

    Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,776.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1270, up 0.2% on the day.

  • Why Pfizer Stock Rose Today
    Motley Fool

    Why Pfizer Stock Rose Today

    What happened Shares of Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) rose 3.2% on Wednesday after the pharmaceutical giant released promising early results from its COVID-19 vaccine trials.  So what  Pfizer is working with German biotech BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) to develop a novel coronavirus vaccine.

  • Why COVID-19 Vaccine Developer Dynavax Is Down 6.5% Today
    Motley Fool

    Why COVID-19 Vaccine Developer Dynavax Is Down 6.5% Today

    Dynavax (NASDAQ: DVAX) shares were trading 6.5% lower as of 3:35 p.m. EDT on Wednesday after competitor Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) reported data showing its vaccine produces a significantly larger number of antibodies than are found in recovered COVID-19 patients. Dynavax is collaborating with a number of companies on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, but trials involving the adjuvant it's contributing to boost immune responses in these collaborations have only just begun, suggesting other players, including Pfizer, may reach the market sooner. On Wednesday, Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX), announced one vaccine candidate it's evaluating in a small phase 1/2 trial resulted in neutralizing antibody levels that were up to 2.8 times higher than levels seen in recovered COVID-19 patients.