There’s a growing consensus around the globe that COVID-19 may become a permanent fixture among diseases we have to combat on a continual basis, like the flu.
Part of the problem is that the virus continues to mutate into troublesome variants — including the Delta variant that’s grabbed headlines for weeks — particularly in countries or areas with low vaccination rates, according to Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program.
“I think this virus is here to stay with us and it will evolve like influenza pandemic viruses, it will evolve to become one of the other viruses that affects us,” Dr. Ryan said at a recent press conference.
In Malaysia, a crucial global producer of automotive semiconductors that are in short supply at the moment, has seen resurging COVID-19 cases take a bite out the country’s economic growth. Last month, Malaysia’s central bank cut its 2021 GDP growth forecast nearly in half, to 3% to 4% from 6% to 7.5%.
The country’s International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali recently told CNBC that, starting in October, Malaysia will consider COVID-19 an endemic disease with an expected permanent presence like dengue or malaria.
Having access to an affordable vaccine is key to Malaysia’s economic recovery and manufacturing expansion, Ali said.
The same could be said for other Southeast Asian nations that are important links in the global supply chain, including Vietnam and the Philippines, which have also seen a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 63% of the adult U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while the country is seeing over 161,000 new infections per day, with over 103,000 hospitalizations per day and up to 1,385 deaths per day. Health officials have said that most of the people who end up hospitalized or dying from the disease are unvaccinated.
The U.S. has topped 40 million COVID-19 cases so far, or about one-fifth of the world’s 221.2 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. also has recorded about 14% of the world’s deaths from the disease, or 649,168.
The White House announced its own plan to roll out booster shots to combat COVID-19 in mid-August. Interestingly, the U.S. could soon begin booster shots starting the week of September 20, and they could be popular.
A September Investor’s Business Daily poll found 86% of respondents who’d been fully vaccinated would take a booster.
And so far, the vaccine from Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech SE (BNTX) is likely to be first to get early approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC for their initial booster shots. The FDA’s outside advisory committee will meet September 17 to publicly review the Pfizer booster shot data.
Pfizer and BioNTech have been at the forefront of obtaining crucial regulatory approval for the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of their competitors. (I recently wrote about them receiving full FDA approval for the vaccine, and some of the potential implications here.)
Their vaccine has also been the most administered in the U.S., with over 212 doses given as of September 4, compared to 146.7 million for Moderna, Inc. (MRNA) and about 14.5 million for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).
Both Pfizer and Moderna said last week they have submitted data for a booster shot to the FDA. The New York Times is reporting regulators are still trying to figure out the proper dosage of a third Moderna shot, while JNJ has not delivered needed data yet to the FDA.
Meanwhile, Moderna announced today its plans for a single booster shot for both COVID-19 and the season flu called mRNA-1073, while it continues its mid-stage trial testing the COVID-19 vaccine in children aged six months to less than 12 years.
And Novavax, Inc. (NVAX) said it’s begun an early-stage study to test its own, two-in-one flu and COVID-19 vaccine shot, and expects results in the first half of next year.
There’s clearly significant profit potential for several biotech companies working on COVID-19 vaccines. But as I have said before, I believe BioNTech stands to be one of the biggest winners in the months ahead when you consider its fundamentals.
Choosing the Crème de la Crème
Case in Point: For the company’s second quarter, reported on August 9, it achieved total revenue of 5.31 billion euros, or $6.23 billion, up an eye-popping 12,634% from 41.7 million euros in the same quarter a year ago.
Second-quarter earnings came in at 2.78 billion euros ($3.37 billion), compared to an earnings loss of 88.3 million euros in the second quarter of 2020. Earnings per share came in at 10.77 euros, or $12.64 per share, topping estimates for 8.91 euros by 20.9%.
Company management also noted that it reached a major milestone, as it has now supplied more than 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to countries around the world. Through its partnership with Pfizer, BioNTech has agreements for another 2.2 billion doses of the vaccine.
Looking ahead, this fundamentally superior company is expecting to bring in 15.9 billion euros ($18.63 billion) in revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine this year, up from a prior estimate of 12.4 billion euros.
In fact, the German startup’s revenue gains are projected to be so high this year they could amount to an eighth of the overall GDP growth of the entire nation of Germany — Europe’s largest economy by up to 0.5 percentage points this year.
Of course, the company isn’t a one-trick pony, which is another reason why I like the stock. BioNTech is working on more than just a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s currently advanced 15 oncology product candidates in 18 ongoing clinical trials.
BioNTech is also working on a malaria vaccine for the African continent and anticipates starting a clinical trial by the end of 2022.
As you can see below, BNTX is a “Strong Buy” in my Portfolio Grader, with a Total Grade of “A,” and a Quantitative Grade of “A,” signaling institutional buying pressure under the stock.
The stock has consolidated gains after reaching a52-week high of $464 on August 10 but has risen over 4% over the past week as investors weigh the potential for COVID-19 boosters. So far this year, the stock has climbed an incredible 324%.
And I’m pleased to say that my Growth Investor subscribers have been along for the ride, as I recommended BNTX to my Growth Investor Buy List back in April 2021. The stock is currently at the top pick of my Top 5 Stocks, and I look for this stock to continue climbing higher over the longer term.
The bottom line is that BNTX has the regulatory chops and the superior fundamentals to keep trekking higher while the world combats COVID-19.
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Note: The Editor hereby discloses that as of the date of this email, the Editor, directly or indirectly, owns the following securities that are the subject of the commentary, analysis, opinions, advice, or recommendations in, or which are otherwise mentioned in, the essay set forth below:
BioNTech SE (BNTX)