Covid-19 vaccine makers slump on expected patent waiver

Photo: EPA

The stocks of all companies involved in production of Covid-19 vaccines fell, as US and EU backed the call from the World Health Organisation to waive patent rights claims over the jabs production, Reuters reported. The share slumps came even as some analysts raised doubts about any near-term pressure on Covid-19 vaccine sales from discussions of waiving intellectual property rights, given the manufacturing complexity and scarcity of raw materials. Combined, Pfizer and Moderna have forecast a total of over $45 billion in sales this year for their Covid-19 vaccines.

Among companies with Covid-19 vaccines, shares of Pfizer fell 1.7% and were among the biggest weights on the benchmark S&P 500 index, while US shares of its German partner BioNTech SE shed 0.6% in mid-week deals after falling as much as 15% overall.

Moderna was off 1.3%, recovering after being down nearly 12%, while Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca were little changed, as the broad S&P 500 rose 0.2%. "This measure is a potential risk to the long-term tail for the vaccine players – though we remind investors that the Street and share prices were already skeptical on the longer-term sustainability of these businesses," Barclays analysts said in a note.

Shares of other US companies developing Covid-19 vaccines were also shaken. Novavax, whose vaccine has yet to be authorized by any country but is gearing up for deliveries later this year, fell nearly 10% initially but were up 1.6% in afternoon trade. Germany's Curevac which has sought approval for its Covid-19 vaccine, plunged by 18%. Shares of China's CanSino Biologics, which makes a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine, were off 15%.

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