The monkeypox virus has spread to over 20 countries, including the U.S., at a rapid pace. So far, none of the infections have been fatal. As pharmaceutical companies around the world prepare to battle the monkeypox, what are the top stocks to invest in during the outbreak?
The CDC said that there isn't a proven, safe treatment for monkeypox. However, smallpox vaccines and antivirals can be used to control the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. until a reliable monkeypox vaccine can be made. Pharmaceutical companies that make or sell smallpox treatments have been the top targets for investors when it comes to the current outbreak.
Investors can consider investing in these stocks amid the monkeypox breakout.
Chimerix is one of the leading antiviral drug developers in the U.S. The company creates oral antiviral therapeutics to help reduce oral infections. Its product Tembexa, is the first antiviral medicine to be approved by the FDA in 2021 as a smallpox treatment for all age groups. The medicine is one of the leading candidates to be used for assisting in monkeypox treatment.
Chimerix sold the exclusive rights of Tembexa to Emergent BioSolutions, a biomedical company, for a $225 million cash payment. The drug developer will earn 20 percent royalties on all Tembexa oral products' gross profits by Emergent. Since the company is one of the top smallpox treatment providers in the U.S., it will be heavily relied upon throughout the monkeypox outbreak.
Emergent BioSolutions (EBS)
Since Emergent BioSolutions owns the exclusive rights to sell one of the leading smallpox treatments in the U.S., it’s only right to mention the company here as well. The biopharmaceutical company develops vaccines and antibody therapeutics of its own, along with manufacturing medical devices that are geared for biodefense purposes.
The company’s stock has taken a hard hit this year. It ran into issues with its COVID-19 vaccine development and even had to discard over 400 million vaccine doses because of quality issues. However, the company is favored to make a strong comeback with its Tembexa sales.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO)
Inovio specializes in therapeutics and preventative vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases. Along with creating smallpox treatment products, the company is also in the late stages of developing a COVID-19 vaccine. In November 2021, the FDA approved Inovio to continue its trials for its DNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19.
In 2010, Discovery Drug Trends published an article that revealed that Inovio’s DNA smallpox vaccine provided 100 percent protection for non-human primates against a highly pathogenic monkeypox strain. In the trials conducted back then, 10 monkeys were given a lethal monkeypox dosage, and all of them survived. However, Inovio released a statement last week saying that it hasn’t done any additional work on that monkeypox vaccine since the 2010 publication.
It isn't clear yet whether the vaccine can work on the current monkeypox virus, but it might give Inovio a competitive advantage over other pharmaceutical companies when it comes to future monkeypox treatments. Earlier this month, the vaccine maker announced Jacqueline Shea as its new CEO.