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Talks of a post-pandemic world can probably be put on hold for now. Turns out that with the emergence of mutant strains and, in particular, the fast-spreading Delta variant, Covid-19 is still very much an on-going concern. This is obviously bad news for almost everyone except for that segment of the stock market where coronavirus stocks reside.
This is the title given to the group of companies who since the pandemic’s onset have sought to find solutions in the global battle against Covid. One of the unexpected companies to join the fray this year is Ocugen (OCGN).
This eye-diseased focused company is on this list due to its acquisition of the U.S. and Canada rights for India-based Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. Investors liked this development, and earlier in 2021, sent shares to improbable heights. The stock has cooled down somewhat since it became apparent Covaxin’s path to market won’t be as straight forward as hoped for, but Noble analyst Robert LeBoyer still senses big opportunity, noting Covaxin has “important features that could make it part of the effort against COVID-19.”
Covaxin’s data showed it to be effective in a wide range of the population - from ages 12 to 91 - while also being effective against the Delta variant. It is also suitable for cost-effective distribution and storage due to its ability to be kept at normal fridge temperatures for two years.
With large parts of the population still unvaccinated, LeBoyer thinks the vaccine could be an appealing choice to many.
“We see its manufacture through the older, established whole-killed virus technology, rather than through the newer methods using messenger RNA, as a point that may overcome hesitation to be vaccinated,” the 5-star analyst said. “The combination of efficacy, safety, and ease of distribution should make it a viable competitor for continued vaccinations and long-term protection.”
First of all, though, the company will need to go via the long route in order to get the vaccine to market. The FDA has stated that rather than granting the vaccine emergency use approval (EUA), US approval would require a biologics license application (BLA). The company is in talks with the FDA to establish the requirements for the BLA submission.
In the meantime, Ocugen has forged ahead with the manufacturing plans and has begun data submission for (emergency use) approval in Canada. LeBoyer does not anticipate there will be the need for an additional clinical trial for approval in the US, but currently awaits “updated guidance.”
In any case, LeBoyer obviously has high hopes Covaxin will make the grade in North America. The analyst initiated coverage of OCGN with an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating and a Street-high price target of $15. Should his thesis play out, a twelve-month gain of 120% could potentially be in the cards. (To watch LeBoyer’s track record, click here)
In addition to LeBoyer’s Buy rating, the stock has 2 Buys and Holds, each, resulting in a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Over the next 12 months, the analysts see shares appreciating by 36.5% given the average price target stands at $9.30. (See OCGN stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.