Global Markets Are In Turmoil Sending Investors Scrambling For A Safe Haven

March 13, 2020 -

The Coronavirus has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Entire countries are being quarantined, many businesses worldwide are closing doors, airline flights are being restricted and even the National Guard has been called to aid in the fight against the coronavirus. Even the harshest of actions by governments has to date been unable to stop the spread of the coronavirus and it shows no sign of slowing. As the markets melt down, investors are asking two questions: Where does it end and where do I look for opportunity? Active companies in this space include: OpGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPGN), Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ: VXRT), Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: COCP), Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CODX)

How does this Coronavirus pandemic end?

First we need reliable and fast testing so we know who has the virus, there is a shortage. Secondly we need treatments for those that have the virus, currently there are none. Thirdly we need a Vaccine to prevent new infections, currently there are none. We will cover who is the most promising in each of these sectors.

Several companies have been amongst the first to announce their intention to submit detection kits tests for approval. Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the Administration's response to the outbreak, acknowledged yesterday that there was a shortfall in the number of testing kits required:  "We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.” [1]

OpGen, Inc. has a testing system for Coronavirus Testing ready to go

OpGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPGN)  OpGen announced that Ares Genetics GmbH, (a Curetis Group company whom OpGen has an agreement signed to merge with), and the Chinese genomics company BGI Group will collaborate in making molecular testing for the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV available in Europe. [2]

BGI was first to sequence the genome of the new 2019-nCoV virus and successfully developed a Real-Time (RT) Fluorescent PCR (polymerase chain reaction) kit for detecting 2019-nCoV, which can provide results in a few hours and has already obtained approval by the Chinese National Medical Products Administration. In addition to the rapid detection kit based on RT-PCR technology, the DNBSEQ-T7 sequencing platform developed by BGI Group’s instrument and reagent subsidiary, MGI, passed the emergency approval procedure of the National Medical Products Administration, becoming the first officially approved testing products in China for surveillance, discovery and identification of unknown infectious diseases.

BGI and MGI will work with their long-term strategic partner Ares Genetics to make its 2019-nCoV testing portfolio available to public health institutions and hospitals for outbreak monitoring, infection control in Europe. Ares Genetics expects to provide next-generation sequencing services for 2019-nCoV out of its NGS laboratory in Vienna, Austria

Much needed and Exciting Vaccine Potential

Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ: VXRT) is a biotech company that engages in the discovery and development of oral recombinant protein vaccines based on its proprietary oral vaccine platform, VAAST. The company is using its VASST platform to develop a coronavirus vaccine program using oral recombinant vaccines administered by tablet rather than by injection.

“Vaxart’s proprietary technology has been clinically proven in humans, and the ability to make an oral vaccine to meet this current public health threat is very important to all of us at Vaxart,” said Sean Tucker, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Vaxart. “The results of our recently published influenza challenge study demonstrated that our oral tablet vaccine primarily protects through mucosal immunity, a potential key factor when targeting mucosal pathogens such as this new coronavirus.” [3]

To date, Vaxart has conducted multiple clinical trials with vaccines based on its VAAST platform, demonstrating its oral tablet vaccines consistently generate robust mucosal responses in humans. In addition, Vaxart’s vaccines have demonstrated efficacy in humans for H1 influenza, and in pre-clinical models for chikungunya, aerosolized Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

Badly needed treatment of the Coronavirus

Cocrystal Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: COCP) has licensed a preclinical compound that it intends to develop into a coronavirus therapy. Cocrystal announced that it has entered into a license agreement with Kansas State University Research Foundation (“KSURF”) to further develop certain proprietary broad-spectrum antiviral compounds for the treatment of Norovirus and Coronavirus infections.

“Following our acquisition of patent rights and know-how from KSURF and our recently completed financing, we are aggressively pursuing the development of novel antiviral compounds for the treatment of Coronavirus infections using our established proprietary drug discovery platform. Given the global threat of COVID1-9, our primary goal is to advance our Coronavirus program into preclinical development. Cocrystal has recently raised over $17 million to fund their program. [4]

Another testing company to watch

Co-Diagnostics, Inc. is riding high on the Coronavirus pandemic wave and rocketed 91% to $13.18 on Wednesday on their coronavirus testing program. Co-DiagnosticsInc. (NASDAQ: CODX) is currently developing a test for the new coronavirus strain. Following US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declaring a US public health emergency on the potential threat that the novel coronavirus poses, and the FDA determining that circumstances exist justifying Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of in vitro diagnostics for detection of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more detailed information on some of the companies in this release, please visit: As The COVID-19 Coronavirus Attacks Wall Street, We See Some Major Opportunity

As any investment in the stock market, investing in stocks can be risky. Investors should do their reasonable due diligence by reading the risks and uncertainties as detailed in the company's most recent 10-Q and 10-K filings with the SEC and the company website.



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