This is an important month for coronavirus stocks. Ten coronavirus vaccine programs are in phase 3 trials, and some companies may even apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the coming weeks. That means we might soon know the winners of this much-watched race to be the first vaccine to market -- so it's clear that now is a good time to consider vaccine developers.
Now is also a good time to consider makers of COVID-19 detection tests. Among other reasons, President-elect Joe Biden during his campaign pledged to put a focus on testing to conquer the virus.
Here I'll talk about two leaders in the vaccine race and a company that has already posted growing revenue thanks to EUAs for seven coronavirus detection tests. Now is the perfect time to buy these shares -- and benefit from potential gains in the near term and long term.
Pfizer (PFE 0.89%) shares rose more than 7% in one trading session this week when the company and its partner BioNTech (BNTX 3.85%) announced positive interim efficacy data from the phase 3 trial of their coronavirus vaccine candidate. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires two months of follow-up safety data as the basis for an EUA. Pfizer expects those results during the third week of November and has said it will apply for regulatory authorization soon after.
From a timeline perspective, Pfizer is leading the race. And if safety results are positive, we should expect share-price gains ahead, as well as revenue from the vaccine if and when it's authorized and/or approved. The U.S. has ordered 100 million doses for $1.95 billion and may extend that order to as many as 500 million more doses. The company will also supply the European Commission with 200 million doses, with an option for 100 million more.
An investment in Pfizer now will bear fruit in the long run if this coronavirus vaccine candidate makes it past the final data and regulatory hurdles. But even if it doesn't, Pfizer still makes a good long-term investment considering its array of commercialized products. And total revenue, recently weighed down by the Upjohn unit, should climb as Pfizer offloads that business, which is merging with Mylan to form a separate entity.
Many think of Moderna (MRNA 1.55%) as the coronavirus vaccine stock, probably because the company was the first to launch human testing of a vaccine candidate back in March. Since then, the biotech player hasn't disappointed. Phase 1 results in younger and older participants were positive, and the vaccine candidate moved smoothly along to phase 3.
Moderna shares have climbed more than 320% so far this year. But more gains may be on the horizon if the company's initial safety readout from the phase 3 trial is positive. Moderna expects to have those results around Nov. 25, after which the company will apply for an EUA. Authorization to commercialize a vaccine could offer another short-term lift.
But what's really interesting is the long-term potential. A successful coronavirus vaccine would be a win for the company in two ways: as a long-term revenue driver (the company already has supply agreements in place with the U.S., Canada, and other countries), and as proof that Moderna's messenger RNA (mRNA) technology works in humans. Like all of the company's pipeline programs, the coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA to instruct the body to defend itself from infection or disease. One important note: Moderna doesn't yet have products on the market, and its shares are highly dependent on coronavirus news. So this stock is best suited for aggressive investors.
3. Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories (ABT 1.34%) is already benefiting from its coronavirus work. The FDA has granted EUAs to seven of the company's tests, and revenue has been growing. In the most recent quarter, COVID-19 testing sales generated $881 million in revenue. That's up from $615 million in the previous quarter.
And testing sales may jump in the weeks and months to come. Abbott launched the $5, 15-minute BinaxNOW test in late August. The company said that as of October, it would ship 50 million tests a month. We should see the results of that volume in the fourth-quarter earnings report, which covers the three months ending Dec. 31. As noted above, the policies of President-elect Joe Biden should also support Abbott's business as 2021 progresses; in his campaign, Biden promised to double the number of drive-through testing sites, which would boost the use of tests such as the BinaxNOW.
Finally, what makes Abbott one of my favorite coronavirus stocks is that it isn't just a coronavirus stock. The healthcare company also has a portfolio of medical devices, diagnostics, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals to rely on for revenue. In fact, annual revenue has increased for the past five years. So if at some point in the future coronavirus testing revenue wanes, Abbott has plenty of other products to compensate.