Wall Street analysts and specialists are weighing the possibility that Pfizer and BioNTech may file their Covid-19 vaccine candidate with regulators by October after the pair said a late-stage Covid-19 vaccine study kicked off on Monday evening.
Pfizer shares rose 3% at one stage in the latest session on the announcement with its German partner, just hours after similar news from Moderna.
With AstraZeneca already in Phase 3, it’s a 'three-horse race', Jared Holz said from the Jefferies healthcare trading desk. “The government involvement makes us think we could hear anecdotal reports of trial progress even before the interim data is available later in the year,” he said.
Mr Holz expects at least one vaccine will get an emergency use authorisation in the US before November, which many have thought may give President Donald Trump a new foothold in the election as his polling numbers slip in favour of Democratic contender Joe Biden. But not everyone is as optimistic over an October timeline.
UBS analyst Navin Jacob said Pfizer’s programme may have a 'slight edge' over Moderna, but a Centers for Disease Control adviser that Mr Jacob spoke with cast doubts about the October target. Some on Wall Street also reflected surprise that the vaccine candidate Pfizer and BioNTech selected was not the same shot that investors had seen detailed data from.
Mr Jacob spoke to an expert from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices, who said an autumn 2020 readout from a Phase 3 trial would be 'a stretch' as the rate of new infections for patients in the trial would likely be too slow. He predicted an initial look at results was more likely to come in the first half of next year.
Mr Jacob said Pfizer’s international study may have an advantage over Moderna’s US-based study if the trial is in areas where Covid-19 is quickly spreading.