Pfizer, BioNTech Vaccine Boosts Hopes and Markets
Positive results on a Covid-19 vaccine trial sent the stocks in Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) 5% higher Wednesday morning.
Markets rose Wednesday in New York thanks to the good news that BNT162b1, developed by the U.S. drugmaker and its German partner, led to more levels of antibodies in trial patients than in people who have recovered from Covid-19. Specifically, the number of neutralizing antibodies was twice as high from the promising vaccine candidate.
"We are encouraged by the clinical data of BNT162b1, one of four mRNA constructs we are evaluating clinically, and for which we have positive, preliminary, topline findings," Kathrin U. Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said in a statement.
The trial involved 45 patients injected with doses of varying concentration of the drug, as well as a placebo. The largest concentration, a 100 μg dose, caused fevers in some patients, but no serious adverse events, the companies said. The results have not been peer-reviewed.
The next step for the companies is a Phase 2b/3 trial for safety and efficacy, in which Pfizer and BioNTech expect to test up to 30,000 patients. They also said they intend to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine this year and an additional 1.2 billion doses in 2021.
The S&P 500 was up 0.6% intraday, the Dow rose 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5% on raised hopes of a vaccine. Pfizer shares jumped to $34.31 apiece while BNTX rose to $70.15 per share by midday. Despite the daily jump, Pfizer was still down from trading above $35 per share a month ago, while BNTX was significantly higher from its early June level of $52 per share.
Meanwhile, antivaccine activists have partially ofsett the hopeful sentiment. Recent surveys discovered that just 50% of Americans are ready to take a shot. As pharma companies around the globe race to find a cure for the virus that has already killed 511,364 and infected nearly 10.5 million worldwide, misinformation surrounding vaccination is spiking. And, quite possibly, ruining the chances of completely ridding the world of Covid-19.
Hopefully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will act quickly on a plan to boost "vaccine confidence," as said by its director Robert Redfield.