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4 Promising Stocks At The Top Of Goldman Sachs’ COVID-19 Healthcare List

4 Promising Stocks At The Top Of Goldman Sachs’ COVID-19 Healthcare List

These 4 names are making big strides in developing treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus.

Goldman Sachs this week published a basket of more than 20 healthcare companies that are developing treatments, tests, and vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic.

As global cases approach at least 1.6 million, and cases in the U.S. inch closer to 500,000, pressure to find treatments for the deadly novel coronavirus is increasing. And while a vaccine is likely around 12 to 18 months out, possible vaccine candidates are being rapidly developed.

According to the Goldman analysts who produced the list, it’s “not all-encompassing.” However, it does provide “a wide-enough, representative, and global sample of names with news flow likely over the next 12 months.

Goldman expects this basket of stocks to continue to command a “goodwill” premium while hedging against individual stock volatility.

At the top of the firm’s list are Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD), Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) on the treatments side, and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) on the vaccine side. 

Gilead could have data from two trials of its experimental remdesivir treatment from two trials in China as soon as this month, which could move the stock dramatically. 

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Alethia Young wrote in a note this week, “Though the potential commercial opportunity for remdesivir affects our [discounted cash flow] by only $2/sh, we think that this readout will likely lead to a bigger stock move (10-15%) due to broad investor focus on the shares.”

Regeneron soared higher a few weeks ago after it said that it had initiated a phase 2/3 trial to evaluate its Kevzara in patients with severe COVID-19 alongside its partner, Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY). 

“We believe that there is scientific evidence to suggest that Kevzara may be a potentially important treatment option for some patients, and this trial will provide the well-controlled, rigorous scientific data we need to determine if IL-6 inhibition with Kevzara is better than current supportive care alone,” said Sanofi’s global head of research and development, John Reed. 

In the crowded race to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, Johnson & Johnson expects to begin clinical trials for its experiment vaccine in September, and has received a nearly $500 million partnership with the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

“The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible,” said Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky. 

Johnson & Johnson also plans to expand its global manufacturing capacity so it can quickly produce the vaccine if it is approved, and hopes to have the first batches of the vaccine available for emergency use authorization by early next year. 

Moderna, meanwhile, shipped its vaccine to government researchers for testing in February, and the first dose of the experimental vaccine was administered to trial participants in March according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“This study is the first step in the clinical development of an mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, and we expect it to provide important information about safety and immunogenicity,” said Moderna chief medical officer Tal Zaks.

Other names on Goldman’s list include Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), Adaptive Biotechnologies (NASDAQ: ADPT), BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX), Fujifilm Holdings (OTC: FUJIY), Incyte (NASDAQ: INCY), Novartis (NYSE: NVS), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), Takeda Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TAK), Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO), and Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ: VIR). 

“Several names on this list could continue to see sentiment tailwinds from a combination of potentially supportive government commentary and/or easing regulatory hurdles,” the Goldman analysts led by Asad Haider wrote in the note.

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