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Stock Price Plummeted Suddenly with Major Breakthrough in COVID-19 Vaccine


A major breakthrough in COVID-19 Vaccine. The stock price plummeted strangely. Is there anything worse than this?

A team led by Academician Chen Wei of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences made a major breakthrough in the research and development of the new COVID19 vaccine, which made people look forward to the final victory in the war against the epidemic.


But what is bizarre is that the stock price of related concept stock company Cansino Bio has plummeted with heavy volume, which is full of mysteries.


What is the shocking secret hidden in Market Slump with COVID Vaccines Breakthrough?

Today, Junlin will take you into the new crown vaccine investment arena, and clear the fog of the A-share vaccine sector.


1. Let us briefly review the origin of the incident

The adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) vector vaccine developed by Academician Chen Wei is one of the first vaccine candidates to enter clinical trials in the world.


On May 22, the top medical journal "The Lancet" published a paper entitled "Safety, Tolerability and Immunogenicity of Recombinant Adenovirus Type 5 Vector COVID-19 Vaccine: Dose Escalation, Open Label , Non-random, first human trial".


Figure: Screenshot of the paper of The Lancet medical journal
The Lancet paper screenshot


The paper shows that this is the world's first human clinical data of a new crown vaccine. 108 healthy adults received the vaccination. A rapid specific T cell response was found on the 14th day, and they were exposed to SARS-CoV- on the 28th day. 2 The humoral immune response reached a peak, and no serious adverse events were found.


Also Refer: Vaccine Development Encyclopedia

In response to the results of the Phase I clinical trial released by Academician Chen Wei, Professor Jiang Chunlai from the School of Life Sciences of Jilin University said: 

“Looking at it, I feel that the indicators of total antibody, neutralizing antibody, and cellular immune response are all good and worth visiting. Go down."


Note that this is the result of Phase I, and Phase II clinical trials have also started in April, and results will be available in May.


Phase II clinical trials are mainly randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled three parts, with 250 volunteers receiving medium dose, 125 low dose and 125 placebo for the experiment. 

To determine whether the results can be replicated, and to determine whether there are 500 healthy people experiencing adverse events within 6 months after vaccination.


It is worth mentioning that the Phase II clinical trial includes volunteers over 60 years old. This will be the first time in the world that healthy people over 60 years old will be used as an important target population for vaccine research.


The new coronavirus epidemic is still spreading globally. We now know that the only way to end this epidemic is a vaccine.


According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 120 vaccine development projects worldwide, of which 8 projects have entered the clinical trial stage.


The progress of Chen Wei's team is the fastest, and the effect is very exciting, but how did the stock price collapse?


2. The vaccine of Chen Wei's team was jointly developed with CanSino Bio, and the latter is undoubtedly the biggest beneficiary after the successful development of the vaccine.

However, after the opening on Monday, Cansino Bio's share price plummeted, from the highest point of 240.0 Hong Kong dollars all the way down. 

The intraday decline was more than 20%, and the closing decline was still as high as 13.92%.


In the next 3 days, the stock price is still falling. The current stock price is about 162 yuan, which is more than 40% from the high of 285 yuan a week ago.


Why is this happening?

According to King’s Landing’s analysis, there are 3 main reasons


Reason 1: Peer research failed


This wave of Cansino’s plunge began on Thursday, May 21.


One incident happened that day. The study of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 new crown vaccine at Oxford University announced that it had failed. Animal experiments showed that the vaccine could not prevent rhesus monkeys from infecting the virus, nor could it prevent animals from spreading the virus infection to other people.


It is worth noting that the Oxford University team used the same technical route as Cansino vaccine-adenovirus vector.


On the other hand, the day before, Cansino announced the cooperation with PNI to start the research and development of mRNA-LNP vaccine, which was interpreted by analysts as Cansino looking for Plan B.


These signs quickly cooled the market’s previous extreme optimism.


They cleaned up and ran away.


Reason 2: Difficulty in follow-up research


Vaccine research and development is a high-tech threshold, which is time-consuming and risky.


According to data disclosed by the World Health Organization, more than 120 new crown vaccines have been developed worldwide, and the actual number is even higher, some of which are undergoing clinical evaluation.


For example, in my country, there are more than 20 companies such as Zhifei Biology and Hualan Biology that are promoting the research and development of new crown vaccines.


However, most of them are only in the pre-clinical research stage. There are only 5 teams that can reach the clinical trial stage, which shows the high elimination rate.


Clinical trials are divided into phase I, phase II, and phase III. In each phase, a large number of companies will be eliminated.


The phase I trial focused on safety. The subjects were only a few healthy volunteers, and the dose was relatively low;


The Phase II trial examines the effectiveness on the basis of safety. The subjects are also a small number of healthy volunteers with a higher dose;


The most difficult part is actually stage III.


The purpose of the Phase III test is to confirm the product before it hits the ground, so it needs to have absolute safety and effectiveness, and usually a large-scale test is required.


The subjects are not only healthy adults, but also susceptible elderly and children:


The number of subjects is at least several thousand, even tens of thousands.


Infectious diseases must be observed for at least one epidemic cycle to obtain protection rate data for susceptible populations.


Only in this way can the government dare to issue approval documents.


But at this step, most of the experimental vaccines were announced to be abandoned.


Back to the development of the new crown vaccine,


As you know, the current epidemic situation in my country has been basically cleared, and there are very few new crown patients. The follow-up phase III clinical trials will face the dilemma of no patients.


Without enough patients, there is no effectiveness data.


Of course, we can also go to overseas countries with severe epidemics to carry out Phase III clinical trials, but this requires the cooperation of the local government. 

The progress will undoubtedly be greatly delayed and the uncertainty will be great.


Reason 3: The company has been losing money for years

When the market is optimistic, any good will be amplified and interpreted;


But once you calm down, any negative aspects will be magnified, such as losses.


Many biopharmaceutical companies are losing money in the early stage, and the loss is not terrible. As long as you can develop the medicine, there will always be someone willing to support you.


But what if the probability of success decreases?

If you want to change a vaccine plan and start over again, how much time will cost increase?


Can the huge loss be supported until the day the product is launched?


This is really a big problem.


Data show that Cansino has been at a loss since 2016.


In 2019, Cansino's loss increased to 157 million yuan. At the same time, the company's research and development expenses were 152 million yuan.


CanSino has great ambitions, and it covers the pipeline of 16 vaccines for 13 infectious diseases.


Of all these vaccine products, none of them has been commercialized.


Among them, a recombinant Ebola virus vaccine was approved in 2017, becoming the world's first approved emergency reserve vaccine for Ebola epidemic control.


We all know that Ebola is a terrible infectious disease. Once it is hit, it will soon bleed and die.


But it was also because it was so terrible that people who were caught by the virus quickly died out.


This vaccine can only be stored in a warehouse, and no patients can be sold.


This is embarrassing.


3. What is even more embarrassing is that the market value of this loss-making product exceeded 60 billion Hong Kong dollars a week ago.


Are COVID vaccines expensive?

The vaccine industry is a type of innovative drugs with high risks and high valuations. Therefore, the industry usually does not look at PE, but on the R&D pipeline and the probability of success.


When calculating a valuation, there are usually three steps.


The first step is to sort out the R&D pipeline.


Vaccine companies make money mainly from the monopoly brought about by patent protection, and the gross profit margin can be as high as 90%.


Either the R&D fails and goes back to be a beggar;


Either the R&D is successful, and you can live the days of cramps.


Therefore, for vaccine companies, plant and equipment are worthless, and the R&D pipeline (a summary of the intellectual property rights of all innovative drugs under development) is the treasure.


Taking CanSino Bio as an example, its R&D pipeline is as follows:

The second step is to estimate the demand scale of the pipeline


We take the upcoming MCV4 (4-valent meningococcal conjugate vaccine) as an example to estimate the scale of demand.


The main competitors of CanSino's 4-valent meningococcal conjugate vaccine are the two-valent conjugate vaccine that has been on the market and the unmarketed 4-valent polysaccharide vaccine.


Compared with the 2-valent conjugate vaccine, CanSino's 4-valent conjugate vaccine has better safety and immunogenicity, and additionally covers two serogroups, Y and W135, with a wider protection range.


Compared with the 4-valent polysaccharide vaccine, CanSino's 4-valent conjugate vaccine is suitable for people aged 3 months to 6 years old, so it can cover infants and children under 12 months of age with the highest incidence of meningococcal disease, while the former is only suitable for 2 Children and adults over the age of.


China has not yet launched a 4-valent meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Cansino MCV4 has been included in the priority review and is expected to be the first domestic 4-valent meningococcal conjugate vaccine in 2020.


The closest competitor is Minhai Biology. It started research and development in 2013 and is currently in phase III clinical trials. Most of the others are in phase I and II clinical trials.


In this way, the reasonable sales range of Cansino in the next few years can be calculated by replacing the sales data of the 2-price meningococcal vaccine on the market in 2019 and the competitiveness of various competing products.

The third step is to estimate the NPV value after the vaccine is on the market


A large number of hypothetical parameters are used in the NPV calculation process, but in fact all hypothetical parameters can be classified into three categories: market size, market share, and time node.


Since this part involves more complex and professional boring data models, Junlin will not start here. Interested friends can purchase Junlin's VIP version of the happy version, which contains a large number of valuation studies of A-share innovative drug companies.


4. Cansino's valuation is expensive, and the market is full of divergence

But King's Landing can be sure of one thing, the new crown vaccine is not a good business.


First of all, as mentioned earlier, vaccine development is highly uncertain, and the probability of success may only be 50%;


Second, if the vaccine development time is too long and the epidemic prevention and control work is solid, the demand may be greatly reduced.


This was the case with SARS that year. The epidemic was declared over in half a year, but the world's first SARS vaccine to complete a phase I clinical trial was released a year and a half late.


The day lilies are cold.


As mentioned earlier, Cansino’s own Ebola vaccine is the same.


This is why the traditional large vaccine companies generally do not touch infectious diseases, and they are really scared.


More importantly, even if the vaccine can be successfully developed and the demand is still strong, the price will not be able to sell.


This is because my country regards the new crown vaccine as a global public good.


At the opening ceremony of the 73rd World Health Assembly video conference, the boss solemnly announced, "After the research and development of China's new crown vaccine is completed and put into use, it will be used as a global public product to make vaccines available and affordable in developing countries. China contributes."


In other words, this will be a non-market-oriented industry.


There will be only one buyer: the government.


The pricing power is in the hands of the government, and it can be expected that the purchase price will be pushed down to an extremely low level.


If you want to get rich, don't dream.


High risks and low returns are destined to be a business that is not friendly to investors.


5. Of course, the new crown vaccine is not a good business, and it does not mean that the vaccine industry itself is not good

In fact, vaccines are a very good business overall.


According to Evaluate Pharma's data, global vaccine sales revenue in 2018 was 30.5 billion U.S. dollars, with a compound growth rate of 6.6% from 2018 to 2024. The growth rate ranked fourth among the top ten therapeutic areas, second only to immunosuppressants, skin drugs and tumors. drug.


The global vaccine market is oligopolistic. There are currently four major giants: GlaxoSmithKline (27%), Merck (25%), Pfizer (20%), Sanofi (19%), they occupy the global vaccine market 91% of the share.


Among all vaccine products, Pfizer's 13-valent pneumonia vaccine (Prevnar 13) ranks first in sales, with sales of up to 5.85 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, and is known as the "king of global vaccines."


Merck's quadrivalent/nine-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil 4&9) ranked second in sales, with sales of up to 3.74 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.


The top 10 vaccine products have a combined sales of US$20.56 billion, accounting for 63% of the global vaccine market.


Large companies, large single products, and a highly monopolistic market structure make the industry leaders a lot of money.


Junlin believes that the higher the technical threshold, the higher the degree of monopoly and the friendlier to investors.


Of course, the premise is that this market is not defined by the government as public goods.


In China, the size of the vaccine market in 2019 was 42.5 billion yuan, and it is expected that the compound annual growth rate from 2019 to 30 is expected to exceed 10%. The expansion momentum mainly comes from heavy self-funded Class II vaccines.


Large scale, rapid growth, and low concentration.


In 2019, imported vaccines accounted for 40% of my country's vaccine market. Among local vaccines, except for one accounted for more than 10%, the other shares were very low.


It can be predicted that the prospects of the top six companies currently in the first and second tier camps are generally not bad.


6. Finally, we focus on analyzing three representative companies in A-shares: Zhifei Biological, Kangtai Biological, and Watson Biological.


2017-2019 financial report

Chart: 2017-2019 revenue of major listed companies (100 million) | Source: choice


It can be seen that, in terms of growth, Zhifei has been thriving in the past three years.


Zhifei Bio was once the key tracking company of Junlin Happiness Edition, which has brought huge returns to investors.


Zhifei Bio's growth momentum comes from the Merck's 4-valent HPV and 9-valent HPV vaccines. As mentioned earlier, this is currently the second largest vaccine product in the world.


In 2019, the number of batches issued and the growth rate of the two vaccines were: 5.54 million (+45.88%) and 3.32 million (+174.71%), contributing 8.7 billion yuan in revenue to the company.


Although the financial report for the first quarter of this year is not very attractive due to the impact of the epidemic, the demand is there, and it is expected that there will be good growth prospects in the future.


Among A-share vaccine companies, Kangtai Bio is the most stable development.


The first is R&D. In terms of absolute amount, Kangtai Bio's R&D expenses are the largest of the three. Considering that its revenue ranks second among the three, it can be said that Kangtai Bio is the company with the heaviest R&D investment.


Like Cansino, it doesn't work if you don't lay eggs.


In fact, Kangtai Bio not only has strong profitability, but also maintains stable ROE. Its gross profit margin is the highest among the three companies (about 90%), and it has been in a steady upward process in the past three years.

Relatively speaking, Watson Bio's performance fluctuates greatly.


In 2019, Watson Biotech's net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was 142 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 86.43%;


In the first quarter of 2020, the net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was -18.12 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 146.78%. 

It seems that the problem is relatively large, mainly related to capital operation and the impact of the epidemic.


The capitalization ratio of R&D expenditure is as high as 70%, which is different from ordinary people and also makes people worry.

Of course, from the perspective of the R&D pipeline, Watson Bio's blockbuster product is a 13-valent pneumonia conjugate vaccine, which can prevent pneumococcal infection in infants and young children, with global sales of up to 5.8 billion US dollars.


Watson is the second approved listing in the world.

Competitor Pfizer’s similar products are only suitable for inoculation of infants and young children aged 6 weeks to 6 months. Watson’s age range covers a wider range of 6 weeks to 71 months. The stock market above 6 months is exclusive to Watson. 

There is a dark horse potential.


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