Vaccine-Tied Stocks Flail After U.K. Clears Pfizer-BioNTech Shot

Vaccine developers were whiplashed in U.S. trading Wednesday after the U.K. became the first Western country to clear a preventative shot for Covid-19, sending its makers Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE higher.

Some on Wall Street have been warning of more volatility for vaccine stocks as gains in several biotechnology names stretch beyond analyst models and appear to be driven less by fundamentals and more by enthusiastic daytraders. Small-cap vaccine contenders like Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc. and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell as much as 6% and 6.7% respectively.

Vaccine-Tied Stocks Flail After U.K. Clears Pfizer-BioNTech Shot

Dynavax Technologies Corp., which is testing GlaxoSmithKline Plc technology in a shot, fell as much as 4.8%.

Pfizer’s next closest competitor working on a similar shot, Moderna Inc., sank 10% before eventually trading higher after Merck & Co. revealed it had sold off its stake in the biotech company.

Novavax Inc. also reversed a 6.5% drop to rise 3%. The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company should have late-stage results from a U.K. study early next year.

BioNTech ADRs surged as much as 8.4% and Pfizer jumped 5.1% after the U.K. gave their messenger-RNA based inoculation an emergency use authorization. The regulatory nod, ahead of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Dec. 10 advisory committee meeting, came as a surprise to at least one analyst.

Liberum’s Graham Doyle said he was unsure what the advantage is of approving so early and before the U.S. agency weighed in.

Next week’s FDA panel is likely to focus on “regulatory nuances,” Goldman Sachs analysts led by Terence Flynn told clients in a research note. “We anticipate a favorable endorsement,” they said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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