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Meet VBI Vaccines, The Biotech Up 100% In 2017

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Meet VBI Vaccines, The Biotech Up 100% In 2017

If you've been too distracted by the Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) IPO lottery ticket trade to keep your eye on small-cap biotech moves, you may not have noticed VBI Vaccines, Inc. - Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ: VBIV) shares quietly doubling in value since the start of the year.

VBI Vaccines is a biopharmaceutical focused on developing — you guessed it — vaccines, with an eye toward infectious disease and immuno-oncology.

SCI-B-VAC

Its first marketed product, Sci-B-Vac (a hepatitis B vaccine), recently received both a positive European Medical Agency Scientific Advice regarding its development path, and a positive response from Health Canada's initial valuation of its Phase III clinical program. The company is seeking FDA evaluation and approval for its Sci-B-Vac Phase III study.

Here's what you should know about Sci-B-Vac: To fight viruses, drug makers these days create synthetic versions of a virus in hopes they can stimulate the body's immune response, leading the patient to become immune to said virus. Viruses express a range of antigens, and the more of these a vaccine can mimic the more effective it will be. According to Investing.com, Sci-B-Vac expresses more hepatitis B antigens than any other vaccine.

VBIV Shares Ripping

After opening 2017 at $3.09 per share, the issue has been on a tear this week, making a new 52-week high of $6.46 early in Tuesday's session. Equities.com last summer called VBI one of the most interesting biotech companies right now, and was started at a Buy rating last summer by Ladenburg Thalmann analyst Kevin DeGeeter. Its pipeline also includes congenital vaccines for both Zika virus and cytomegalovirus.

While it has gained approval for SCI-B-Vac in 15 countries, without approval in the United States or Europe, it's hard to gauge the potential for the company or the stock.

The market seems to be optimistic, though — after coming off the highs shares were still up 1.15 percent late morning Tuesday despite the iShares Biotechnology Index (NASDAQ: IBB) being hammered by a tweet from President Donald Trump on lowering drug pricing.

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