Trump’s Gains Nearly All Lost as the Market Reacts to COVID-19

March 19, 2020 -

Amidst the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Wall Street suffered its biggest point drop in a single day on Monday and the Dow fell below 20,000 points at the end of Wednesday, nearly erasing all of the gains Trump has made during his presidency. Fed intervention has done little to stabilize markets or subside fears that we are entering a potentially long-term recession. However, that does not mean that every sector and industry is down. Biotech stocks are seeing a sudden surge in value as dozens of companies work around the clock to develop tools to combat the COVID-19 crisis. Of those biotech companies, a few appear close to major breakthroughs in detecting, preventing, or even curing the deadly disease. These leaders in the coronavirus fight—namely, Cocrystal Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP), Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ:RMTI), Co-Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ:CODX), Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN), and Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX)—are proving not only that they are deserving of the public trust, but also that they are the leading names in the biotechnological space.

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Even after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero and committed trillions of dollars to steady the financial markets, both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 plummeted around 12%.

Many of the world’s largest companies, including Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, have seen double-digit declines in share prices over the last few weeks. Experts across Wall Street are now all but certain a coronavirus-driven recession is “inevitable.”

Rapidly Advancing a Coronavirus Program

But while the broader markets struggle to mitigate losses, biotech stocks are offering investors an incredible opportunity. These companies are working to ease and even end the outbreak of the virus, and rightfully, investors are flocking to them in droves.

Cocrystal Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP) is one such biotech stock that recently announced it has initiated a Coronavirus program. Cocrystal discovers and develops novel antiviral therapeutics using unique structure-based technologies and Nobel Prize-winning expertise, making it perfectly suited to tackle the current crisis.

On February 24, the company entered into a license agreement with Kansas State University Research Foundation to develop antiviral compounds for the treatment of Coronavirus infections. This license provides a significant boost to Cocrystal Pharma’s already considerable antiviral programs, and the company intends to pursue research and development of these antiviral compounds through preclinical and clinical trials.

In addition to having an early foot in the door, Cocrystal is well-funded to develop its program. On February 28, the company closed a direct offering with several institutional investors worth $11 million before expenses. Cocrystal also closed another offering worth approximately $6.8 million before expenses on March 11.

Dr. Gary Wilcox, Chairman, and CEO of Cocrystal Pharma, says that the recent financing, together with the agreement from KSURF, means that the company will be “aggressively pursuing the development of novel antiviral compounds for the treatment of Coronavirus infections” using its established proprietary drug discovery platform.

“Given the global threat of COVID-19, our primary goal is to advance our Coronavirus program into preclinical development,” he added.

Detection Kits, Treatments, and Vaccines Are Also in the Works

Of course, Cocrystal Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP) isn’t the only biotech stock that’s working tirelessly to address the pandemic. It’s joined in the fight by several other companies with extensive diagnostics and antiviral solutions.

Members of the public who are the most at-risk of dying from the disease—members of the public with compromised immune systems—still face a serious threat. Luckily, biopharmaceutical company Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ:RMTI) brought a revolutionary drug to market last year that will help keep many immunocompromised patients safe. That drug is Triferic, which supports disease management initiatives and helps deliver safe and effective treatment while improving a patient’s quality of life.

The FDA is set to review its I.V. Triferic drug with a PDUFA (Prescription Drug User Fee Act) on March 28, 2020. Approval would allow dialysis centers to administer Triferic to patients regardless of the mode of bicarbonate delivery being used. This would significantly boost the drug’s applicability, which in turn would help more immunocompromised members of the public stay safe while getting the care they need.

Co-Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ:CODX), for example, was the first company in America to receive a CE-mark for a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Since then, demand has surged for its cost-effective coronavirus detection kits, as more and more patients are suspected of having caught the disease.

Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration’s new policy to expand the availability of COVID-19 tests has allowed the company’s tests to be distributed to clinical laboratories across America. Outside of the US, Co-Diagnostics is already shipping its test kits to “countries on four continents,” according to CEO Dwight Egan. These include Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Israel, South Africa, and Canada.

Likewise, Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN), announced on March 16 that it is developing a test kit to distinguish the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from 21 other serious respiratory infections. The company’s current aim is to create more than 6.5 million tests every month starting by the end of April, with 10 million tests created every month before the start of July and 20 million by the end of the year.

As with Cocrystal Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP), CDOX and QGEN will no doubt save lives by helping healthcare officials detect COVID-19 in patients.

However, still more is needed in order to truly fight this deadly virus. A vaccine is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19, and to that end, Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) is currently assessing multiple nanoparticle vaccine candidates. While these vaccine candidates are yet to move to human testing trials, the company expects to reach this stage before the end of spring 2020. To help progress the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax has received initial funding of $4 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with discussions of additional funding still ongoing.

Just like Cocrystal Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP), These biotech stocks are dedicating immense resources to keep people safe and healthy, while simultaneously maximizing the value they can offer to shareholders.

An End in Sight?

All of the companies mentioned above are primed to deliver life-saving solutions for a public and an economy that’s being ravaged by COVID-19.

Both Co-Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ:CODX and Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN) are working on test kits to diagnose SARS-CoV-2, the virus at the root of COVID-19. Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ:RMTI), meanwhile, is spreading public awareness of its drug Triferic which supports disease management initiatives, allowing those most at-risk of dying from the virus to receive the best possible care.

In addition, both Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) and Cocrystal Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP) are developing treatments for the disease. Novavax is racing towards human clinical trials for its vaccine candidates, aided by funding from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. In perhaps the most promising development, Cocrystal, finally, is researching and developing broad-spectrum antiviral compounds to treat coronavirus infections.

While a recession is likely on the way, there’s no doubt that these companies will continue to make progress towards ending the spread of COVID-19. With the outbreak behind us, the world’s economy will be able to convalesce, and will eventually recover.

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