The Complicated World of Biotech Investments in the Era of COVID-19

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - May 23, 2020 - PRLog -- Investors are excited about biotechnology stocks in the time of the novel coronavirus.  The Wall Street Journal reports that small and medium biotech stocks are near record highs, with a 60% resurgence in value since March.

Indeed, the time is ripe for biotech companies to cash in on COVID-19 via pursuit of novel drug therapies and vaccines for the condition, which currently has no cure.  But risky biotech companies are taking advantage of the COVID-19 market in an effort to gain more investors for pharma products which may ultimately fail.

Sources of Risk in Biotech and Pharma

The biotech industry is notorious for its high risk, so in a COVID-19 world, more than ever, investors need to look for long-term value from prospective biotech investments.  Sources of risk in the biotechnology and pharma industry – even before the current environment – include:

  • Companies' acquisition by other companies
    Biotech is a fast-paced and dynamic world, and companies may join forces to work on a shared goal.  GlaxoSmithKline has acquired 21 companies over the past decade alone, according to Crunchbase. In an alternative scenario, two companies may race towards a cure, with one company inevitably losing out.

  • Drugs failing in clinical trials after seeming promising in the preclinical world
    While it may take ten years just for a drug to enter the clinical trials process from the laboratory, this protracted timeframe may not spell success.  In 2019, Merck's cancer immunotherapy Keytruda, one of the company's strongest drugs, failed in Phase 3 clinical trials for treatment of a specific type of liver cancer.  Also in 2019, Bristol Myers Squibb's Obdivo failed in a Phase 3 brain cancer trial.

  • Adverse effects which cause drugs to promptly be pulled off the market
    In 2004, Merck recalled another blockbuster drug, the painkiller Vioxx, after patients began suffering heart attacks and strokes.
Investors Should Seek to Minimize Risk in Biotech by Avoiding COVID-19 Hype

A key aspect of investing in biotech has always been to minimize the inherent risk as much as possible.  This means looking at the company's foundation and whether they are an established leader in the field.  Instead of examining how companies are faring in the COVID-19 world, consider tried-and-true leaders in pharma and biotech, which are likely to play a major effort in COVID-19 due to their leadership in the space.

Opting for low-risk stocks which performed well before the economic downturn associated with the ongoing pandemic can help improve the success of your portfolio in the long term.  These companies include:
  • Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), a company with $82.8 billion in sales, which recently announced work on a COVID-19 vaccine and is listed at #34 in Forbes Global 2000 2020.

  • Abbott Labs (ABT), which recently unveiled 5-minute point-of-care testing for the novel coronavirus which can be used at pharmacies and doctor's offices.  Upon this news, the stock price rose nearly 50% from its low price of approximately $69 during the lowest point of the economic downturn to about $90 per share.

  • Gilead Sciences (GLD), a company listed at #186 in the Forbes Global 2000 2020, which recently experienced new popularity as its antiviral treatment, Remdesivir, obtained fast-track FDA approval as a treatment for COVID-19.

  • Pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) recently announced a landmark agreement with Oxford University towards making a COVID-19 vaccine a reality for millions around the world.
Other low-risk choices include Pfizer (PFE), GlaxoSmithKine (GSK), and Novartis (NVS).  These biotech and pharma companies have weathered many storms, and, regardless of their contributions to COVID-19, will likely continue to thrive due to their successes elsewhere in the industry.

The Bottom Line

Biotech investors should focus on long-term investing strategies with proven, big pharma companies.  They should avoid small, undercapitalized biotech companies that are simply chasing trends.

Click to Contact
More News From 24-7 Reporters

Ukrainian leader felt Trump pressure before taking office

May 24, 2020

KYIV, Ukraine — More than two months before the phone call that launched the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Ukraine's newly elected leader was already worried about pressure from the U.S. president to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden. Volodymyr Zelenskiy gathered a small group of advisers on May 7 in Kyiv for a meeting that was supposed to be about his nation's energy needs. Instead, the group spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in...

Europe's specialty food makers brace for US tariffs

May 24, 2020

MILAN — European producers of premium specialty agricultural products like French wine, Italian Parmesan and Spanish olives are facing a U.S. tariff hike due Friday with a mix of trepidation and indignation at being dragged into a trade war they feel they have little to do with. The tariffs on $7.5 billion on a range of European goods were approved by the World Trade Organization as compensation for illegal EU subsidies to plane maker Airbus. The U.S. has some leeway in deciding what goods it puts tariffs on. So while it is taxing European aircraft goods an extra 10%, it...

The Latest: British govt insists there is Brexit progress

May 24, 2020

BRUSSELS — The Latest on Britain's plans to leave the European Union (all times local): 10 a.m. The British government says talks with the European Union are making progress, despite the lack of a breakthrough overnight. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office says talks are resuming Wednesday after a "constructive" session that lasted late into the night in Brussels. Johnson is eager to strike a deal at an EU summit starting Thursday so the U.K. can leave the bloc in good order on the scheduled date of Oct. 31. But both sides say gaps remain over plans for maintaining an open...

Bulgarian prime minister condemns soccer racism

May 24, 2020

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov condemned the racist behavior of his country's soccer fans on Tuesday, a day after the national team played England in a European Championship qualifying match. Local fans made Nazi salutes and directed monkey noises at the black players on England's national team. England won 6-0, but the match was halted twice in an effort to stop the abuse. "It is unacceptable that Bulgaria, one of the most tolerant countries in the world where people of different ethnicities live in peace, to be associated with racism and xenophobia," Borissov wrote in a post...

Kosovo election winner in no rush to restart Serbia talks

May 24, 2020

PRISTINA, Kosovo — A left-wing party leader poised to become Kosovo's next prime minister said Tuesday he isn't in any rush to restart formal talks intended to normalize relations with Serbia and won't lift the previous government's 100% tariff on Serb imports. In a general election held Sunday, Albin Kurti's Movement for Self-the Determination, or Vetevendosje, defeated center-right political groupings formed by former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters who had governed since 2007. Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared independence in 2008, a decade after an insurrection by KLA fighters and Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic's bloody crackdown launched a 1998-99 war....

Sign up now!

About Us

24-7 Reporters publishes up-to-the-minute news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our certified reporters are among the most experienced, well-trained and talented across the globe, covering issues resonating progressives in every corner of the world.

Contact us: sales[at]24-7reporters.com