3 Biotech Stocks For An Age of Epidemics

The World Health Organization recently declared the Wuhan coronavirus a global emergency. While the Chinese authorities work on containing the mysterious disease, these three companies are looking for a cure.

Feb. 13, 2020

It’s hard to believe that only a few weeks ago the words “novel coronavirus” were not yet a part of our vocabulary, while the name “Wuhan” meant little to anybody outside of China, conjuring up — if anything — the image of another mysterious, high-tech mega-city on China’s vast central plain.

And while last week China’s stock benchmark, the CSI 300, suffered its worst day since 2015, there are many companies closer to home whose attempts at solving the ongoing crisis might just make them superstars in the market as well as the biotech field. Here are three companies to watch out for in an age of epidemics. 

1. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals

This Durham, North Carolina-based pharmaceutical firm caused a stir in medical circles when global health experts pointed to its antiviral drug Galidesivir as a possible remedy to the novel coronavirus. The drug has already shown survival benefits for a broad range of diseases, including Zika, Yellow Fever, and Ebola. Researchers have also added coronavirus to the list.

Galidesivir is still only in Phase One of the study, which means it will be unlikely to make any immediate impact on this rapidly developing crisis. However, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: BCRX) is renowned for the quality of its medical research, and in the short term these trials may provide organizations and governments will critical data regarding prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

2. Gilead Sciences

In the wake of the Wuhan crisis, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) has been upheld around the world as a symbol of hope. This is because the company has manufactured an antiviral drug that many believe has the potential to effectively treat the latest form of coronavirus.

The drug, Remdesivir, was initially developed to treat symptoms of Ebola, yet its applications may be far broader than that. Remedesivir is so promising that Chinese health authorities have revealed that they’re working with Gilead to conduct clinical trials on infected patients. With a robust manufacturing infrastructure already in place, and the co-operation of China, Gilead is well-positioned to scale the drug, should its effects prove positive.

3. Abbott Laboratories 

With an emphasis on diagnostics rather than treatment, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) is a giant in the diversified healthcare space. The company boasts a huge portfolio of products, including pharmaceuticals as well as medical devices such as blood glucose monitors, heart monitors and pumps, and pacemakers. More relevantly, Abbott is renowned for its rapid diagnostics systems, which provide accurate remote patient monitoring, among other benefits. In a cross-border viral situation, this emphasis on the autonomous aspects of healthcare may prove invaluable.

Indeed, the last time the company proved so relevant was during the SARS crisis in 2003, when its diagnostics kits were distributed throughout the world. Abbott’s wide range of services, as well as its history of providing solutions to past health emergencies, make it an unignorable presence in these tense times.

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