Swine Flu Has BioPharma as Happy as Pigs in Filth
It seems crass to be discussing the success for small BioPharma companies when human beings are suffering, but such is nature of the market at times. As Benzinga reported earlier today, nine people have died from a Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak in Mexico. Tragically, that doubles the number of reported deaths from last week.
Of course, when people die, many other people go into a justified panic. There are now 573 cases of Swine Flu that have been identified in Mexico, and the rush to make sure that the number does not grow too much bigger is on.
Monday saw shares of Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) peak at $1.49, up from 1.31 earlier in the day. At the time of writing, the spike has dipped and NVAX is trading at about $1.40.
Similarly, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: BCRX) reached $3.29 on Monday morning, having sat at $2.75 earlier in the day. It is currently at $3.05.
That is the nature of the beast, and it is certainly the nature of the pharmaceutical industry. When there is an outbreak of something that requires immunization, the price of the companies that provide that medication will shoot up, at least temporarily.
Again, it can seem crass to celebrate the financial gain, but it has to be remembered that these companies are providing a service. While restraint regarding joy at financial success is important, the fact is that without the vital research carried out by these companies, the world would have far greater problems.
Alarmist websites like Pestilence Watch (yes, it exists) will rally around to sensationalize the deaths for their own means, but the truth is that everyone could be immunized against the disease because that shot exists. Yes big businesses stand to make money out of this panic. That is inevitable. But it the service being offered that should be remembered here, and the individuals that have passed away.
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