What happened

Shares of Emergent BioSolutions (EBS 6.02%) were soaring by 12.1% as of 10:34 a.m. ET on Thursday. The big gain came as concerns increased about a monkeypox outbreak in Europe. Monkeypox cases are also being investigated in the U.S. and Canada.

Emergent BioSolutions makes ACAM2000, a vaccine for smallpox that can be used in people exposed to monkeypox in some cases. The monkeypox virus is closely related to the variola virus that causes smallpox. Also, the company announced on Monday that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire exclusive global rights to Chimerix's Tembexa antiviral therapy for smallpox.  

So what

It remains to be seen just how much the monkeypox outbreak will benefit Emergent financially. There are other companies that market smallpox vaccines that could offer protection against monkeypox. And Bavarian Nordic's Jynneos vaccine has been specifically approved for immunization against monkeypox.

However, Emergent could see increased demand for ACAM2000 and potentially Tembexa as well in light of the recent events. While a monkeypox outbreak is bad news overall, it provided a much needed positive break for Emergent. The healthcare stock was down well over 50% from its 52-week high before today's gain.

Monkeypox written on a notepad next to a stethoscope and pen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

So far, the number of cases of monkeypox remains small. If the virus spreads significantly, though, Emergent BioSolutions stock could move even higher. Meanwhile, investors can look forward to the company's closing of the licensing of Tembexa, which could happen by the end of June.