Altimmune looks to obesity as Covid-19 vaccine crashes

The failure of Altimmune’s nasal Covid-19 vaccine project wiped 16% from the company’s value in early trade today, effectively erasing the gains the stock made on an early hit in obesity – with a different project – a fortnight ago. The extent of investors’ expectations for the AdCOVID vaccine is surprising given that Altimmmune had taken 16 months to generate phase 1 data and had secured no major partner. Plenty of other small-cap biotechs also have Covid vaccine candidates in early and mid-stage trials, as the table below shows, and might be at similar risk of losing value should their projects also disappoint. Those with data looming include Vaxart and Arcturus Therapeutics. As for Altimmune, attention will now turn to the full 12-week data from the obesity study that showed such promise at the halfway point. If the final data remain solid – or actually improve, given that ALT-801 is to be dosed at higher levels – this could be Altimmune’s chance to hook a partner, and help investors forget their Covid-19 vaccine disappointment.

Selected early and mid-stage Covid-19 vaccine candidates
Vaccine Company Market cap ($m) Notes
Phase 1
AdCOVID Altimmune 626 Ph1 failed Jun 21; project discontinued
ChAdV68-S-TCE Gritstone Bio 478 Topline ph1 data expected mid-year
CORVax12 Oncosec Medical 124 Ph1 data poss Q3'21
CoVepiT OSE Immunotherapeutics 256 Ph1 data poss Q4'21
VXA-CoV2-1 Vaxart 1,067 Oral vaccine. Topline Ph1 data released in Feb 21, Ph2 trials planned
Phase 2
ABNCoV2 ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding/Bavarian Nordic 135/2,721 Topline data from Cough-1 trial expected Jul 21
ARCT-021 Arcturus Therapeutics/
930/2,809 Ph2 data imminent. Ph3 trial expected Q3'21; EUA poss H2'21
hAd5-Covid-S/N ImmunityBio 5,843 SC, oral and sublingual formulations being tested; early safety data reported and several trials ongoing
VBI-2902a VBI Vaccines 1,019
Ph1/2 data expected Q2'21
Source: Evaluate Pharma, and company websites.

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