covid-19 vaccines

Andy Wang on the Race to a COVID-19 Vaccine

Andy returns to The Watchlist with Nicole Petallides to discuss COVID-19 vaccines.

Highlights include:

  • Global collaboration and funding taking place in an attempt to bring COVID-19 vaccines to market in 12-18 months, a process that typically takes 10 years.
  • There are currently 179 vaccines in development; 17 in clinical testing.
  • Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a partnership of public, private, philanthropic and civil organizations.
    • CEPI has helped fund nine programs (4 of which are in clinical trials)
  • Globally there is a need for multiple companies to succeed due to capacity of manufacturing.

(AZN) and the University of Oxford
  • AstraZeneca-Oxford AZD1222 vaccine is in a phase 3 clinical study.
  • Late-stage testing (of AZD1222) will be conducted in several countries, with trials already in progress in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa.
  • This was one of only a handful of vaccines selected to receive federal funds as part of Operation Warp Speed.
  • The vaccine candidate was originally developed by the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute. AstraZeneca teamed up with Oxford in April and owns the rights to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine globally.
Moderna (MRNA)
  • Moderna's messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 is currently in phase 2 clinical testing.
  • Plans are to begin a phase 3 study of the vaccine in July.
  • Moderna is also among the select group of COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are receiving federal funding in the Operation Warp Speed program.

Other Names to Watch

  • Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) announced early positive data from their phase I/II U.S. clinical study (the most advanced (BNT162b1) of their four experimental mRNA-based vaccines. If the vaccine is approved this year, Pfizer plans to manufacture up to 100 million doses by end of year.
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is investing more than $1 billion in the development of a vaccine and expects to start human clinical studies by September.
  • Sanofi (SNK) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) partnered to develop an adjuvanted vaccination for Covid-19. Adjuvanted vaccines contain an adjuvant – a substance that promotes a better immune response from the patient, meaning a smaller amount of the virus is required in a given vaccine dose. 
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) is attempting to repurpose Kevzara, a drug made in partnership with Sanofi SA to treat arthritis.
  • Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) is developing a DNA vaccine to create antibodies.
  • Novavax (NVAX) in early trials for its vaccine and data has impressed. CEPI gave the company $384mm, the most funding it has provided for a COVID-19 related program.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccine development, visit

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About the Author: Andrew Wang

Andrew Wang


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