The Age of Biotech: Moderna, Pfizer, and how COVID-19 helped an adolescent industry mature

Insights on how an industry has grown up thanks to a global pandemic

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The question of Biotech, an industry once forgotten

Pre-quarantine times seem to be so far away, almost forgotten in the current crisis. Nevertheless, it is vital to remember when biotech wasn’t in everyone’s portfolios, when it wasn’t on the top of people’s heads, and how it wasn’t trusted as a solid investment.

The sick game: diseases as a money maker

As the global population continues to grow, the demand for land will too. This results in deforestation, which, besides impacting the climate, also affects diseases. According to the CDC, over 60% of emerging human diseases are zoonotic, meaning they originate in animals. One way that these diseases transfer to humans is when humans enter the ecosystem of animals. This can eventually result in the mutation of animal diseases to be able to manifest themselves within humans, and hence, leads to a new infectious disease.

Biotech: Steroids or Adulthood?

The biotech industry has developed a lot throughout the pandemic. Moderna’s stock went from trading below $20 at the beginning of 2020 to a bit above $100 just yesterday. What does this mean for the industry? It’s too soon to tell, and here is why.

The case of Pfizer

Pfizer has long been associated with controversy. With Bextra and Trovan, it’s been hard for Pfizer, and it’s not entirely certain that a vaccine could save them. It also seems that the market has been pointing oppositely and favoring Moderna. Pfizer’s stock has been down from its 52-week high, and it’s not looking good. The recent Moderna announcement led to a 3% drop in price and might end up worse. Pfizer’s stock’s poor performance can suggest several things: the death of an old industrial hegemon, or an unripened industry.

One time thing?

This pandemic has lead to times which one could’ve never have expected back in 2019. With staying-home now becoming a legitimate form of work and school and masks now entering the virtual catwalk, these are changes that practically nobody could’ve expected a year ago. We’ve even seen the rise of certain companies and the fall of others. So what does this mean for the biotech industry?

So… what now?

Although recent attention has helped the biotech industry gain traction and grow, the risks involved must be equally considered. Diseases are likely to become more common, so the market for cures will also increase. This could lead to biotech soon becoming the Deputy Captain of the global economy, only coming above deck every few moments to steer the ship to calm waters when the Captain is sick. But that still means that biotech is just the deputy — not the ship’s Captain.

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