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Buzz on the Bullboards: HOT Coronavirus Healthcare Stocks


Omri Wallach Omri Wallach, Stockhouse
0 Comments| March 19, 2020

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Has the entire market been brought down by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic? Not exactly.

While most sectors have been battered by the economic downturn brought by the outbreak, a few stocks have not only evaded the damage, they’ve benefited.

As the seriousness and reality of the pandemic has hit countries around the globe, the focus has shifted to mitigating the damage and assisting strained health services. Many healthcare companies have found that their patents or technologies could be useful during this time; there’s a very clear and public need for potential vaccines, treatments, and equipment.

Investors have been flocking to some of these companies, and the small-cap hub on the Stockhouse Bullboards are no exception. Today, we highlight three of the healthcare companies that have climbed onto the Top-6 most-viewed Bullboards chart because of coronavirus-related news.

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Illustrating the interest in coronavirus-related healthcare today, the most-viewed company on the healthcare Bullboards was also the most-viewed across all other sectors on Stockhouse. The interest in Vaxil Bio Ltd. (TSX-V:VXL, Forum) began back in Feb. 13, and shares of the Israel-based immune-oncology company started to climb rapidly in price and volume from $0.03 on Feb. 13 to $0.14 on Feb. 18. More recently, VXL climbed from $0.115 on Mar. 9 to $0.31 on Mar. 12 before falling back down to $0.17.

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The news that propelled Vaxil Bio was what everyone has been looking for, a potential COVID-19 vaccine. On Feb. 13, the company announced it had identified a vaccine candidate, and on Feb. 18 further clarified the patent protected technology behind the potential vaccine. The timing couldn’t have been better for VXL, as the company had been in the process of a bridge financing. On Mar. 10, it took the biggest step, applying for a US patent for a coronavirus vaccine.


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But Vaxil is just one of now 41 (!) companies that the World Health Organization identifies as working towards a COVID-19 vaccine, so will it “win” out? The VXL Bullboard noted the positives in the company’s favor, including CEO David Goren and his experience as a veteran executive of pharma giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), and the fact that pharma majors looking to enter the race make companies like Vaxil good buyout targets. At the end of the day, as Stockhouse Member LongTbuffet pointed out, it doesn’t matter what comes down the pipeline at this point, as long as it’s a step forward.

“We are one good news away to a possible 5X gains here. This pandemic has created fear and urgency. Testing will be rushed and the FDA will try its best to get a vaccine out.”
(Po​st: One news away)

While first place Vaxil has been building up momentum for more than a month, the ongoing seriousness of the pandemic is elevating new faces as well. Over the last week, a clear example has been Montana-based Lattice Biologics Ltd. (TSX-V:LBL, Forum), which was trading around $0.02/share on minimal volume for more than a year. Recently, however, LBL took off, from $0.025 on Mar. 10 to $0.175 on Mar. 17, a massive 700% increase.

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The surge came after the biologic product maker of cellular therapies announced it could significantly help combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with stem cell technology. On Mar. 13, Lattice announced it was evaluating its amniotic fluid concentrate product for treating the principle cause of death in COVID-19 infection, acute respiratory distress syndrome. While not a vaccine, the company’s AmnioBoost product would be a major help for the health system frontlines in reducing the severity of the outbreak, and on Mar. 17 Lattice announced it had begun enrolling patients for a Phase 1 clinical trial.

Is the LVL run the next big thing or a “pie in the sky?” The company’s Bullboard was openly debating the financials of the company, how long the clinical trial would take to return positive results, and similar tech being researched in China. A common theme was also whether or not Lattice would be the “coronavirus” winner, or if another company was the better bet. However, as Stockhouse Member MNK3240 highlighted, the wave doesn’t limit itself to just one company, and it’s still too early to tell regardless.

“When IBIO, HTBX, AYTU, all these coronavirus stocks came up with some kind of news, they all went up to about $3 from nowhere.

LBL has something solid now, who knows. Once everyone gets to know the company, we can see a big run.”
(Po​st: Can LBL have a big run?)

The last spotlight is also on a more recent coronavirus-related run, Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CSE:AGN, Forum). The Canada-based drug development company was trading between $0.10 and $0.05 for almost half a year heading into March, but at the beginning of the month it took off. AGN shares jumped from $0.09 on Mar. 5 and peaked as high as $0.31 on Mar. 11 before closing at $0.22 on Mar. 17.

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The Algernon coronavirus-related bump started on Mar. 6 when the company announced its NP-120 product could be a treatment for acute lung injury from COVID-19. Following the news, AGN started ramping up significantly, first announcing scaled-up manufacturing of NP-120 on Mar. 9, then filing for a meeting request with the FDA and a funding request from the Gates Foundation on Mar. 13.

As with the companies above, the big question on the AGN Bullboard is if the company’s products will eventually deliver on their promise. As one of the newer coronavirus “plays,” there are many that felt uncertain that Algernon could keep up its rapid ramping up in activity and make it to the front lines, but others like Stockhouse Member Justforfun10 saw the current need for treatment as potentially more pressing than a vaccine play.

“A vaccine is all fine and dandy in 12 months but we need treatment right now. For all those and those to come facing life threatening infection. For some a respirator might not be available or enough to survive this disease.”
(Po​st: Vaccine)

We’ll have to check in and see where these healthcare stocks end up, as the most consistent aspect of the entire COVID-19 coronavirus situation is how quickly it evolves. With the amount of news and updates and changes to official response regarding the virus, each week brings multiple twists and turns.

From the get-go, Stockhouse has been polling users on the Stockhouse homepage on when the outbreak will be put in the rearview mirror, and each market or government update changes the response. Currently, with the focus of governments turning more seriously to mitigation and market stimulus, the pendulum has started to swing back to an optimistic, earlier recovery.

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But each day brings new tidings, new developments, and new outlooks for how the situation will unfold. We’ll be keeping our Investor Pulse Poll open for the forseeable future, so head over to the homepage and cast your vote as well!


(Click image to go to the poll)

Regardless of what next week brings in terms of news, we know that it will bring more certainty. The more engrained a situation, the clearer the idea of how it will play out. Buzz on the Bullboards always brings you the Stockhouse community view on where things are and where things are going, and next week will be no different. For previous editions of Buzz on the Bullboards: click here.


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