Covid vaccine stocks Novavax (NVAX), modern (MRNA) and BioNTech (BNTX) rose to a three-month high on Friday on rising enthusiasm for an Omicron booster campaign in the fall.
The Food and Drug Administration recently asked vaccine manufacturers to adjust their next boosters for the new dominant subvariants, named BA4 and BA5. Both are offshoots of the Omicron tribe. According to Yale Medicine, they are more contagious than the first members of the Omicron family.
The companies are aiming to launch their next boosters by October. These are bivalent vaccines that can target subvariants BA4 and BA5 as well as the ancestral Covid strain. Previously, vaccine manufacturers were testing boosters targeting BA1. But at the end of June, this subvariant accounted for no cases in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
All in all, expected demand has boosted vaccine stocks. Novavax shares are up 4.1% to 76.12 in today’s stock market. Moderna shares rose 2.2% to 176.23. shares of BioNTech, Pfizer‘s (PFE) Partner was up 1.3% to 170.13.
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Vaccine Stocks: Will New Booster Shots Persist?
There is no guarantee that the US will see massive uptake of the new boosters. About half of those eligible have not received boosters targeting the original Covid strain. But these boosters offer something new – a chance to fend off the new subvariants.
Although Novavax does not yet have an authorized Covid vaccine in the US, experts have been impressed by the company’s preliminary booster data. In testing, the prototype protected against BA1, BA2 and BA5 when administered at eight months.
In response, vaccine supplies have exploded. After hitting a bottom in mid-June, Novavax stock was up nearly 118% by Friday’s close. Moderna stock bottomed around the same time and has since risen 52%. BioNTech shares are up 45% over the past few weeks.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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