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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Gilead Sciences, Pfizer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Moderna and Sanofi

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 7, 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: Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) , Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) , Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) , Innoviva, Inc. (INVA - Free Report) and Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Stocks to Buy as Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Ramp Up

The novel coronavirus is wrecking havoc across the globe. Scientists, healthcare officials and even artificial intelligence are working together to find a cure, vaccine, or a way to help people step outdoor without fear.

Per the World Health Organization's database, at present there are seven COVID-19 candidate vaccines in human testing and at least 102 in preclinical evaluation. Most of these vaccines are based on the DNA protein genetic material concept, which will help stimulate the immune system. Functional antibodies produced by these vaccines in the lung cells will help to spike antigen, which are the most resistant to the novel coronavirus.

However, scientists and experts are concerned that even if the vaccines in trail demonstrate safety and efficacy, there is a significant challenge in manufacturing and distributing doses to nearly 8 billion people across the globe. On the brighter side, several healthcare companies have already announced partnerships and agreements with other pharmaceutical giants to ramp up production once a solution is reached.

FDA Clearance and Fast Track Trials Boost Healthcare

Drugmakers world over are rushing to develop treatments and vaccines for the life-threatening coronavirus. These companies are receiving constant financial support from Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the U.S. Department of Defense. In fact, the FDA has given fast track designation to several clinical trials.

On May 1, Gilead Sciences, Inc.’s experimental drug remdesivir was granted an emergency use authorization by FDA for coronavirus treatment. The drug has been experimented for a long time now, and was first tested on Ebola disease patients.

Additionally, on May 5, researchers at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine in Manhattan and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore said they began injecting people with the first of four vaccine candidates from Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech.

The virus has put the economy to a standstill as people are advised to stay-at-home and industries remain closed to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease. With lives still at risk and front liners battling to save the world population, a breakthrough in vaccine will help the markets bounce back.

On May 5, major indexes in the United States rose as investors’ cheered the positive news on the coronavirus vaccine trail front. The S&P 500 Health Care Sector rose 2.2% with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. jumping 6% and the Dow was lifted by Pfizer’s rise of 2.4%.

5 Stocks to Buy

Given the current scenario where companies are racing to develop vaccine or drugs to fight coronavirus, we have shortlisted five stocks that are into clinical trials or are being used in treatment. These stocks are posed to grow with positive results from trails.

Moderna, Inc.’s mRNA-1273 is a novel lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated mRNA vaccine. The vaccine is under phase I testing in healthy adults in the United States and awaits results. Additionally, the biotechnology giant has announced a 10-year manufacturing agreement with Lonza that could help in the production of 1 billion doses per year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 6.2% upward over the past 90 days. Moderna flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Innoviva, Inc.’s INO-4800 is under a phase I clinical trial in the United States and the company has enrolled 40 healthy volunteers. The interim immune responses and safety results from the trial are expected in late June. Along with that the company has partnered with Beijing Advaccine and the International Vaccine Institute to advance clinical trials of INO-4800 in China and South Korea.

Innoviva has also secured funding from CEPI, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense for the development of INO-4800. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 0.6% upward over the past 60 days. Innoviva sports a Zacks Rank #1.

Pfizer has administered its BNT162 vaccine to one group of U.S. patients. The vaccine uses a gene-based technology known as messenger RNA. The bonus for this RNA technology is it can move faster into trials because it does not involve preparation of batches of protein or inactivated viral particles in living cells, which can take months. The dose level escalation portion of the Phase 1/2 trial in the United Sates will enroll up to 360 healthy subjects into two age cohorts; 18-55 and 65-85 years of age.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 1.5% upward over the past 90 days. Pfizer carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Gilead Sciences’s Remdesivir is being used in treating adults and children with severe coronavirus disease. The drug maker is working to expand manufacturing of other vaccine candidates and remdesivir, for use worldwide.

Gilead Sciences is a Zacks Rank #2 company and the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s next-quarter earnings has been revised 0.6% upward over the past 60 days.

Sanofi has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline and is working on two vaccine candidates to prevent COVID-19. The company plans to bring in a protein antigen — a molecule designed to trigger an immune response in the body, which is based on a platform it uses for its influenza vaccine Flublok.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s next-quarter earnings has been revised 2.9% upward over the past 60 days. Sanofi holds a Zacks Rank #2.

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