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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Co-Diagnostics, Moderna and Vertex Pharmaceuticals

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 17, 2020 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include:Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) ,Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (CODX - Free Report) , Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

4 Top Biotech Stocks to Buy in the Time of Coronavirus

Stock markets around the world continue to take a beating as the coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of ebbing. Major U.S. markets recently saw their worst losses in years despite President Trump’s stimulus measures and the Fed’s aggressive monetary policies.

For markets to bounce back, the development of a coronavirus vaccine or treatment is of utmost importance. So, is it the best time to scoop up biotech stocks that are especially working on a potent vaccine?

It certainly is. Moreover, President Trump signed a $8.3-billion spending package last month to stimulate the economy. The emergency fund will be used to help slow down the impact of the virus on the economy. The package in particular will help companies that are involved in research and development of vaccines for the deadly virus as well as those that are aiming to prevent its rapid spread.

However, most of the biotech companies’ efforts are in early stages of development of the drug. Thus, investors should keep an eye on a company’s fundamentals, management team and history, to name a few.

A handful of biotech companies are widely expected to efficaciously develop a vaccine for coronavirus, fighting off the worst stock market carnage since the 2008 financial crisis. Here’re the notable picks.

Regeneron Builds on Ebola Knowledge

Based on Ebola knowledge, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) is making a vaccine to tackle COVID-19. The company’s initiative to prepare such a potent weapon helped its shares increase leaps and bounds this year, especially when compared to the mere 2.5% it brought in over the last 12 months.

Regeneron, in itself, is doing pretty well. The company’s key drugs — Eylea and Dupixent – have been performing well. Label expansion into additional indications should further increase the commercial potential of the drugs.

Regeneron currently possesses a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 8.8% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current and next quarter is 41.4% and 21.3%, respectively. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Co-Diagnostics Focuses on Logix Smart Coronavirus COVID-19 Test

Molecular diagnostics company Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (CODX - Free Report) has introduced an easier-to-use molecular diagnostic test known as the Logix Smart Coronavirus COVID-19 test. And the company has received a CE mark approval from the European Union to make this test commercially available.

With the rapid spread of coronavirus, the need for a molecular diagnostic test will increase, and in turn, Co-Diagnostics’ will benefit. Co-Diagnostics currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its next-quarter earnings has moved up 28.6% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next quarter is 44.4%.

Moderna Focuses on Developing mRNA Treatments

Clinical stage biotechnology company, Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) has manufactured a new vaccine for coronavirus treatment. Unlike DNA-based treatments, Moderna focuses on developing mRNA treatments, which should help in treating the virus better. DNA-based treatments generally require the nucleus of the cell but mRNA can be found across the cell which makes it easily accessible.

Moderna, by the way, has been pretty impressive. After getting to know the virus’ genetic composition, it took the company less than two months to develop the vaccine. Moderna currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 6.2% over the past 60 days. What’s more, the company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current and next quarter is 7.5% and 9.8%, respectively.

Vertex Donates $500,000 to Counter Coronavirus Outbreak

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX - Free Report) recently announced that the Vertex Foundation is willing to provide $500,000 to Partners HealthCare to enhance testing capacity.

Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex said that “as a health care company and a member of the Boston and Massachusetts communities, we are committed to doing our part to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Expanding testing capacity is vital to limiting the spread of this virus and helping protect the health of our community.”

Vertex, in fact, dominates the cystic fibrosis (CF) market. Several deals especially in the Europe has helped the company boost sales of its CF drugs. Notably, Vertex has won approval in the United States of the newest CF drug in the market — Trikafta. The drug will be able to address more than 50% of patients that need CF therapies.

Vertex currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 13.3% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter and year is 55.3% and 42%, respectively.

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