Coronavirus biotechnology stocks defying gravity

This week, biotechnology stocks on the verge of developing a coronavirus vaccine skyrocketed as the deadly virus sent the US and global stock market into an unprecedented downward spiral. Investors fled risk assets amid concerns the fast-spreading COVID-19 epidemic could push the global economy into recession. 

Coronavirus wipes $3.18 trillion from U.S. stocks

Coronavirus fears wiped $3.18 trillion in market value from U.S. stocks, according to estimates from S&P Dow Jones Indices. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 each decreased by 12% and 11% for the week, respectively, suffering their biggest weekly percentage loss since the 2008 financial crisis. 

Coronavirus Biotechnology stocks are skyrocketing

But amidst the ongoing stock market bloodbath, a number of biotechnology stocks are skyrocketing.  The stocks on an upward trajectory are select biotechnology stocks of companies which are on the verge of either developing viable drugs for COVID-19 symptoms or a vaccine.

The biopharmaceutical Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) stock soared as the company announced it has commenced late-stage clinical studies of its experimental antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19. The GILD stock rose by 7.2% and reached over $78 last Thursday (27 Feb), though it has since consolidated, and at the time of writing, the stock is trading at $69.36 (-4.54%). The biotech’s current market cap is $87.64 billion.

NASDAQ: GILD stock chart yahoo finance
Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) – Yahoo! Finance

Shares of clinical-stage biotech Moderna, Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) also surged this week, after it announced the release of the first batch of mRNA-1273, a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate. Moderna shipped vials of mRNA-1273 to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to be used in the planned Phase I study in the US. As the announcement was made on Thursday (27 Feb), MRNA stock reached $34,66 but it has now consolidated at around $26, and has a current market cap of $8,72 billion. 

Moderna, Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA)  - Yahoo! Finance
Moderna, Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) – Yahoo! Finance

Another winning biotech stock is Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), which saw its shares jump following the announcement that it was beginning animal testing for its potential coronavirus vaccine candidates. On Thursday (27 Feb), NVAX stock reached $16,76. Currently trading at $15,90 the stocks saw an increase of 35,59% at the close on Friday (28 Feb).

Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) - Yahoo! Finance
Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) – Yahoo! Finance