COVID-19 Penny Stocks Have Been Soaring & These Are 3 That Made It Big So Far
Most coronavirus news focuses on bad things like new cases, deaths, and the overall spread. However, there are high points investors are paying attention too. With news last week of Gilead’s (GILD Stock Report) apparent success at one of its sites, attention has shifted back to COVID-19 stocks.
Some of the most notable have actually started out as penny stocks. Oil and gas headlines are the flavor of the week right now. But there’s no denying that investors are still on the hunt for new coronavirus penny stocks.
On April 22nd a number of big-name healthcare and biotech names made headlines. For instance, Pfizer (PFE Stock Report) announced regulatory approval from German authority Paul-Ehrlich-Institut to begin the first clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut has approved the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for BioNTech’s (BNTX Stock Report) BNT162 vaccine program.
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“We are pleased to have completed pre-clinical studies in Germany and will soon initiate this first-in-human trial ahead of our expectations. The speed with which we were able to move from the start of the program to trial initiation speaks to the high level of engagement from everyone involved,” says CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin.
While these larger companies have gained some steam, other, smaller firms continue to head higher. The difference between these companies and the ones mentioned above is that they were once considered penny stocks. Some were penny stocks earlier this year and others were earlier this month. But all have traded below $5 a share at one point in 2020.
GenMark Diagnostics (GNMK)
It may be crazy to think that this high-flying stock under $10 was actually one of the penny stocks to watch earlier this month. GenMark Diagnostics (GNMK Stock Report) was trading with a market cap half the size of what it is currently. On April 1st the COVID-19 penny stock was trading around $4. Its main focus on diagnostic solutions. At the end of March GenMark announced that it submitted and received an Emergency Use Authorization to the U.S. FDA for its ePlex SARS-CoV-2 Test.
In a preliminary corporate update this month, GenMark reported that approximately 80% of gross placements included interest in COVID-19 testing. Interim President and CEO Scott Mendel said, “Our sample-to-answer test enables healthcare providers to determine if a patient has COVID-19 in under two hours and is a critical diagnostic solution for hospitals. I’m extremely proud of our team’s hard work throughout this crisis as we continue to work at maximum capacity to provide our ePlex SARS-CoV-2 test and Respiratory Pathogen panel.”
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Since then, GNMK stock has been one the move. As of this week, GenMark shares have reached new highs for the year. On Wednesday, GNMK hit $9.35 for the first time since October of 2019.
Immunic Inc. (IMUX)
In mid-March, Immunic Inc. (IMUX Stock Report) was trading around $4.20 with an average daily volume of less than 120,000 shares. Clearly this was not a very exciting penny stock to watch. It also didn’t represent the same sentiment that most COVID-19 penny stocks have received this year. Unlike GenMark, Immunic focuses on developing oral immunology therapies. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see another immune-related company breakout during the coronavirus craze. But even so, that hasn’t been remotely the case for IMUX stock.
So what has happened that saw this penny stock become something much bigger? Since mid-March, shares of IMUX stock have steadily and almost quietly crept higher. With less than 13 million shares outstanding, it also could have a relatively lower float than other comps. On April 21st things started getting exciting and was also when the bigger move came for IMUX stock.
Immunic released an update just after the closing bell on Tuesday. The company announced that its lead asset, IMU-838 successfully demonstrated preclinical activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). More specifically, IMU-838 was observed to inhibit replication of clinical isolates of SARS-CoV-2 associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). After that, IMUX stock took off and even reached highs of $16.89 during premarket hours on April 22.
Citing the drug’s potential, Prof. Maria Vehreschild , M.D., Head of Infectious Diseases at University Hospital Frankfurt said “it is particularly important to explore treatment options targeting host cell factors that are able to act with less dependence on the genetic drift of viruses and synergistically to standard-of-care antiviral therapies.”
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO)
Another one of the COVID-19 penny stocks that hit it big this year was Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO Stock Report). In fact, it was one of the more talked-about penny stocks on the site as far back as December of 2019. Fast-forward to this year and the company has applied its treatments to tackling coronavirus.
A lot has happened over the last 4 months this year. That includes a jaunt to highs of $19.36. While the INO stock price couldn’t hold at that level, it has found a home above $9. In fact, on Wednesday, shares of INO stock reached over $11.80 a share.
The latest move came after a series of industry and corporate events helped boost market sentiment. Most recently, the clinical trials of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine developed at Oxford University will start on Thursday. That was according to the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock. While Dr. Fauci has continued to say clinical trials at a high pace would still take upward of 18 months, this is positive news for vaccine companies.
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Earlier this month Inovio announced that the U.S. FDA accepted its Investigational New Drug application for INO-4800. This is its DNA vaccine candidate designed to prevent COVID-19 infection. It also paved the way for Phase 1 clinical testing of INO-4800 in healthy volunteers beginning this month.