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Why Shares of Dynavax Technologies, Ocugen, and Valneva Are on the Move Today

By George Budwell – Oct 18, 2021 at 1:49PM

Key Points

  • Valneva's COVID-19 vaccine appears to be more effective and safer than AstraZeneca's jab.
  • Dynavax produces a key component of this potent COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Ocugen's vaccine candidate has yet to land the all-important regulatory nods.

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These COVID-19 vaccine developers are all moving in response to strong late-stage results for Valneva's VLA2001.

What happened

Shares of the COVID-19 vaccine developers Dynavax Technologies (DVAX -1.60%), Ocugen (OCGN -3.01%), and Valneva (VALN -0.35%) are all making moves today. As of 1:32 p.m. EDT,  Dynavax's stock was up 2%, Ocugen's stock was down 3.2%, and Valneva's shares soared 32% higher.

What's driving these moves? The French biopharma Valneva announced this morning that late-stage trial results for its COVID-19 vaccine, VLA2001, produced a stronger overall immune response, with fewer side effects, when compared to AstraZeneca's shot. These results, in turn, are expected to form the basis for regulatory filings for Valneva's vaccine candidate in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. 

Healthcare professional administering a vaccine to a patient.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Dynavax's shares are moving higher on this news because Valneva's vaccine uses the biotech's adjuvant known as CpG 1018. An adjuvant is a compound used to boost a vaccine's efficacy. Dynavax thus stands to benefit financially from the vaccine's potential approvals overseas. 

Why is Ocugen's stock slumping on this news? Ocugen has a co-commercialization agreement in place with India's Bharat Biotech for a COVID-19 vaccine called Covaxin. Despite some recent successes on the regulatory front in India, the duo hasn't gotten key regulatory nods from either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization yet.

While the news of Valneva and Dynavax's vaccine producing stellar late-stage trial results may not directly impact Ocugen at the end of the day, investors are apparently growing restless about Covaxin's regulatory fate in key developed and emerging markets.

Now what

Should investors buy shares of Dynavax, Ocugen, or Valneva on this news? Dynavax stands to take in over $200 million from its various licensing deals for CpG 1018, and today's news should shore up that revenue estimate. So, yes, Dynavax's stock might be worth picking up. Valneva's stock also comes across as a strong buy. The biopharma's market cap remains under $2 billion, and this vaccine could post sales in the hundreds of millions next year (assuming approval). 

Ocugen's stock, for its part, might also be a worthwhile buy on this pullback. The company has been stuck in neutral because of the slow progress with Covaxin's regulatory process. But this vaccine could play a key role in the fight against the pandemic. As a result, this small-cap biotech may be worth adding to your portfolio today.

George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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