As of July 6, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US reached a record high of more than 2,889,303, with more than 129,953 deaths. While other developed nations have mostly flattened the curve, the United States has seen exponential growth in new cases in recent weeks.
At the national level, politicians and governors are alarmed by the rate of new infections, but hesitate to reimpose blockade and quarantine measures. As a result, investors have started to buy biotech companies in a panic at the borders of creating new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Let’s take a look at which of the two companies is a better option.
A total war against COVID-19
From antibodies to diagnostic tests and vaccines, Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRNE) COVID-19 tackles on all fronts with its portfolio candidates. In another article, I discussed how the company made some blatant statements regarding the effectiveness of its antibodies in Fox News. Here, we will focus on what Sorrento is doing in other important areas to combat the pandemic.
COVIDTRAP is Sorrento’s proprietary therapeutic protein designed to bind SARS-CoV-2 and prevent its entry into host cells. In preclinical studies, healthy African green monkey kidney cells were removed, infected with SARS-CoV-2 and administered COVIDTRAP. And 100% of the samples had the virus neutralized after this procedure.
Although the results are promising, there are fundamental differences between the human biological system and that of a single type of monkey cell. As a result, you would be patient and wait for COVIDTRAP to demonstrate its effectiveness in humans before making a move.
The next step is the Sorrento COVI-TRACK test, an in vitro antibody test for COVID-19 that the company says can yield results in as little as eight minutes. The test is under review for the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization.
In a press release, Sorrento revealed that the test was at least 97% effective in detecting negative cases and 94% effective in detecting positive cases. While these metrics may seem very good, it is vital to know that the current rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection is still low in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 5% to 8% of Americans are infected with COVID-19. If we were to connect the numbers to a biostatistics calculator, then the COVI-TRACK test would produce a false negative 0.3% of the time, but it would produce false positives 33% of the time, casting doubt on its accuracy.
In addition to all of this, the company is also producing a COVID-19 vaccine labeled T-VIVA-19 that uses SARS-CoV-2 proteins to cause the body to make antibodies against the disease. The company has not yet started preclinical studies with this new vaccine, placing it at a considerable distance from a leading competitor.
In search of a coronavirus vaccine
While Sorrento appears to be obsessed with a full chain of therapeutic candidates and diagnostic test kits for COVID-19, Modern (NASDAQ: MRNA) It is focusing its efforts on developing a single vaccine to combat COVID-19. The vaccine, mRNA-1273, is based on the injection of messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) that encode a key SARS-CoV-2 protein in the body to provoke an immune response.
In a provisional Phase 1 data publication, eight participants who received mRNA-1273 developed neutralizing antibodies (antibodies that give immunity to a foreign pathogen) against SARS-CoV-2. It is unclear how many other patients received the vaccine but did not develop neutralizing antibodies. The estimated total number of trial participants was 155.
Based on these preliminary results, the company expects to push mRNA-1273 for Phase 3 clinical trials in July. The study will enroll up to 30,000 participants. So far, mRNA-1273 is one of only two vaccine candidates that produces neutralizing antibodies when administered to humans, the other is Pfizer‘s and BioNTech‘s BNT162. In June Moderna signed an agreement with Catalent for the large-scale manufacture of mRNA-1273 in the third quarter of 2020, with the capacity to manufacture 100 million doses in just three months.
What is the best stock of coronavirus?
Both companies currently have limited incomes and are trading at multi-million dollar valuations. In my opinion, I think your actions have already recovered beyond their potential.
However, if I had to choose, I would say that Moderna is the best buy, as it is currently one of the top candidates in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. There is a chance that the company’s vaccine will be successful and reward shareholders. The bar is also low for approval, as the new FDA directive requires experimental COVID-19 vaccines to demonstrate a 50% improvement over placebo for approval (not a 50% neutralizing response).
Although Sorrento has extensive coverage in its portfolio, its approach may eventually result in a “all trades and none teacher” scenario, as all of its candidates for COVID-19 therapy are still on preclinical testing. Therefore, biotech investors who have a philosophy of buying at a high price and selling even higher should consider Moderna over Sorrento.