Arcturus Therapies ARCT -16.4% revealed today that it has initiated dosing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate– LUNAR COV-19, (ARCT-021)– in a Stage 1/2 study in cooperation with Duke-NUS hospital in Singapore. So, Arcturus remains in the video game. The friend of runners in the race to a Covid-19 vaccine consists of no less than 42 entities named by the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society and even includes the Russian government, as announced today by Premier Vladimir Putin. So the secret for any player in the Covid-19 vaccine sweepstakes will be speed and efficacy.
Arcturus shares began this year trading at $10.00 per share on January 2nd and were last priced quote at $51.68. Including the two public stock offerings Arcturus has completed this year and an additional purchase of 600,000 shares by strategic financier Utragenyx, the business’s market price has increased from $154.1 million on January 2nd to $1.25 billion today.
So, it is fundamental to those “playing” a vaccine for Covid-19 to put the candidate business under extreme analysis. Companies like Moderna– whose messenger RNA innovation is a similar construct to Arcturus’ STARR self-transcribing and reproducing mRNA technology– have given new significance to the term “pump-and-dump.” In the previous 2.5 months, Moderna executives have sold an astonishing 800,000 MRNA shares, causing 264,000 by the CEO, Stephane Bancel.
So, business governance is a key performance sign in the analysis of my company, Excelsior Capital Partners, towards potential financial investments. It’s tough to say what my reaction would be to having a company I founded to produce a candidate to immunize against the most prevalent disease in 100 years, however, as a portfolio manager, I let the numbers be my guide. I desire business whose management groups believe in their earnings and believe their stocks enough to hold in the midst of a Wild West-style gold rush in the Covid-19 vaccine space.
So, Arcturus has had very little insider selling in the past 6 months, and the company’s stock offerings have been used to fund money research costs. Likewise, the company’s contract with public-company CatalentCTLT -3.1% ( NYSE: CTLT) will enable for mass manufacturing of LUNAR-COV19 by Catalent after all approvals are granted, enabling Arcturus executives to concentrate on R&D.
Arcturus is not a one-trick pony, with a diverse pipeline that includes, according to the business,
programs to potentially treat Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) Deficiency, Cystic Fibrosis, Glycogen Storage Disease Type 3, Liver disease B, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and a self-replicating mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.
Undoubtedly, however, the stock exchange is most-focused on the last program, and it is difficult for me to anticipate the winner of the Covid-19 vaccine horse race.
I would say, nevertheless, that it may not be an element of “whose drug is best.” There is no basic response to the complex puzzle of seroconversion, the rate at which antibodies are produced, and Covid-19 vaccination. It would seem to my inexperienced eyes that efficacy in producing a treatment for any illness, specifically one as common as Covid-19, is more easily measured than in producing a vaccine. However, for society’s sake, we need to figure out how to stop the unique coronavirus BEFORE it takes hold of its victims, as the present fatally rate (737, 224 out of 20,124,437 cases) of 3.7% around the world and (163.505 out of 5,097,164 cases) 3.2% in the U.S are just too expensive to be neglected.
Conserving lives is the supreme test of the effectiveness of any biotech product. I am a shareholder of Arcturus, so naturally, I hope they “win,” but releasing the first-to-market vaccine might not be the basic response the world requires to eliminate this unique coronavirus. It needs to be quick and simple. Arcturus continues to press towards a low dosage (2 micrograms) injection which needs a single-shot application, rather than Moderna’s mRNA-1273, which was very first given to mice in two different 1 microgram applications three weeks apart. To be sure, the definitions of “quick” and “simple” in regards to Covid-19 are still being built.
The U.S stock markets have been as seasoned and gullible as always lately, as Covid-19 is in some way “good” for companies like Apple AAPL -3% and Amazon AMZN -2.1%– even as so many of their clients die or are struck with Covid-19– as federal government spending floods the U.S. economy. I am often struck by the parochial nature of the U.S. markets; the abject failure to pay attention to any market besides our own is what left us so vulnerable to a huge slide in stock prices in February in the very first location.
So, since today, Arcturus is testing is Covid-19 vaccine candidate, LUNAR-COV19, in Singapore, with an agreement signed to begin such testing in Israel, too. Going forward I would not expect the folks at CNBC to pay any more attention to those markets than they do today, since I understand better. Science is worldwide, nevertheless, and as we are unfortunately finding out in 2020, so are illness. So, I will continue to blog about Arcturus’ LUNAR-COV19 test leads to trials held in Singapore and Israel, and ideally, the marketplace will break its current habits and find out to check out global tea leaves instead of just information points for the good ole’ US of A.