Categories Analysis, Health Care

COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) are ahead in the race, where are the others?

Altimmune expects to start a Phase I safety and immunogenicity trial of AdCOVID in the fourth quarter of 2020

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) have made significant progress in their efforts to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic, with both companies reporting positive results from their Phase 3 trials this month.

Last week, Pfizer reported that its vaccine candidate displayed efficacy rates of over 90% while Moderna announced on Monday that its candidate showed an efficacy rate of 94.5%. Apart from these two, there are several other pharma companies that are involved in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

While Pfizer and Moderna are neck and neck in this race, let’s take a look at three other companies and the progress they have made in this space:


Maryland-based Altimmune Inc. (NASDAQ: ALT) is developing a single-dose, intranasal vaccine named AdCOVID. The company reported positive results from its pre-clinical study a month ago. The vaccine is expected to benefit from its intranasal and single-dose nature as only an intranasal vaccine can provide nasal mucosal immunity that can stop both infection and transmission of the virus.

Altimmune expects to start a Phase I safety and immunogenicity trial of AdCOVID in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a data read-out in the first quarter of 2021. The company also entered into an agreement with biopharmaceutical manufacturing company Lonza for the production of AdCOVID once it receives approval.

Shares of Altimmune have gained 393% since the beginning of this year.


Biotechnology company INOVIO (NASDAQ: INO) announced on Monday that it received approval from the US FDA to start the Phase 2 segment of its Phase 2/3 clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate INO-4800. INO-4800 is a DNA vaccine that can stay stable at room temperature for over a year which will give it an edge while using it in mass immunizations.

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The Phase 2 segment of the trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of INO-4800 in a two-dose regimen and is expected to enroll approx. 400 participants. The Phase 2/3 trial, called INNOVATE, will be funded by the US Department of Defense.

Shares of INOVIO have gained 261% since the beginning of this year.

Johnson & Johnson

In September, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced the start of its Phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate JNJ-78436735. The trial is expected to enroll up to 60,000 volunteers across three continents to study the efficacy of a single vaccine dose against COVID-19.

At the time, the company said it is on track to achieve its goal of providing 1 billion doses each year and that it anticipates the first batches of a vaccine to be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, if approved.

On Sunday, J&J announced that it has started the two-dose regimen ENSEMBLE 2 trial which will test the efficacy of the vaccine candidate in two doses in up to 30,000 participants worldwide. The ENSEMBLE and ENSEMBLE 2 trials will run in parallel. J&J’s vaccine candidate uses the company’s AdVac technology which was used in its Ebola vaccine as well as other vaccine candidates.

Shares of J&J have gained 2% since the beginning of this year.

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