Coronavirus Vaccines

Pfizer or Moderna? Which company should you bet on in the corona virus vaccine race?

Written by: Zack | zack@randomstock.net

What are these vaccines?

Both Moderna and Pfizer are producing mRNA vaccines. mRNA is material that creates a protein, and proteins make up all living things. In this case, Moderna and Pfizer are both using mRNA that will create the protein responsible for the virus attaching to the cell, a good protein to target! However, using mRNA based vaccines is fairly new, so it's interesting that both companies would choose this moment to try to create an mRNA vaccine. Both companies have to complete the FDAs required testing which includes 3 phases.
Phase 1: dosages of drug (10mg, 20mg, 30 mg, etc) are given to people to determine what dose can be tolerated safely.
Phase 2: a medium sized pool of people (100-300) are given the safe dose to test efficacy while still monitoring for safety.
Phase 3: A large pool of people (300-3000) are given the drug to test efficacy while still monitoring for safety.

Moderna

Moderna has an active Phase 1 clinical trial. Phase 1 is not complete but the company feels they have enough data to start enrolling their Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies with plans to use the 100 microgram dose. Due to the pandemic, the company is receiving a lot help from the FDA to expedite the review process. This is allowing them to create a lot of headlines. They have generated no real data in humans on the efficacy of their vaccine. Phase 2 hasn't even begun, so we can't really say anything about efficacy. Meanwhile, Moderna executives are in the middle of a huge sell-off: The president of the company has cashed in to the tune of 40 million! I think the message is clear here, the public is overvaluing Moderna due to the press coverage and the FDA allowing expedited trials. Be smart, like Moderna executives! Sell!

Pfizer

Pfizer has been slower to the clinic, and has only recently announced the two candidates it will take into trials. The company therefore has yet to determine dose and is getting much less press than Moderna. Being behind Moderna isn't a bad thing, maybe they have used the extra time to more carefully select which candidates to bring to clinic. Also, they have two drugs, where Moderna only has one. Pfizer is a large established drug company with many commercial drugs on the market. Pfizer also pays dividends to share holders and doesn't have as much riding on this single trial. Additionally, their executives aren't in the middle of a massive sell-off. On the negative side, Pfizer is behind Moderna, and they still need to see the safety results from Phase 1. That being said, even if this trial tanks I dont think it will make a dent in Pfizers share price in the long run. Pfizer is a safe bet. Buy/Hold.

Conclusion

So who will win the race? If you couldn't tell, my money is on Pfizer: they give me the impression of being cool, calm, and collected as they enter the clinic. They are not in a rush, and they have the money to back more than one drug. Also, while I don't begrudge anyone for making money, the fact that Moderna execs are cashing out now doesn't give me much faith in them, and it certainly doesn't give me the confidence to invest my money in their project.

-Zack

Please Note! These are my opinons! and should not be considered financial advice. I have no degrees of certifications in the field on finance! Please do your own due diligence before investing.

zack says:
2020-09-06 16:37:02
Hi Everyone! Please leave a comment and I will get back to you! Zack

chunk says:
2020-09-16 15:36:19
What about Astrazeneca?!