Siga, Peers Rise on Optimism Over Monkeypox Therapies

Jul 25th, 2022 20:30 EST

(Bloomberg) -- Shares of Siga Technologies Inc. and other companies making vaccines and antiviral products tied to monkeypox were in focus on Monday, after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

Siga’s shares jumped 29% to close at its highest level on record, while Chimerix Inc. and Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. also rose. Retail attention has turned back to Siga, with the firm drawing interest on social-media platform Stocktwits over the weekend and becoming among the top-traded names Monday on Fidelity’s platform.

It has been a tumultuous few months for the shares of firms tied to the outbreak as retail investors piled in and rushed out of the group on uncertainty about the future of vaccines or therapies that could be needed to fight the spread. Siga, as well as Chimerix and Emergent BioSolutions Inc., are “key beneficiaries” of the WHO declaration on the therapeutics side, Cowen analyst Boris Peaker wrote in a note.

Read more: Monkeypox Proves Elusive as WHO Sounds Alarm on Global Spread

Chimerix, which announced in May that it would sell its smallpox drug called Tembexa to Emergent, soared 11% on Monday. Emergent, which also has a smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000 that can be used against monkeypox in some cases, rose 6.3%. Chimerix is operating “under the normal course of business until all closing requirements for the transaction” are met for the Tembexa deal, Michelle LaSpaluto, Chimerix vice president of strategic planning and investor relations, wrote in an email.

Read more: US May Add ‘Toxic’ Antiviral to Arsenal as Monkeypox Spreads

Tonix Pharmaceuticals, which has a vaccine in development for smallpox and monkeypox, climbed 45% on Monday. “Monkeypox coming right on the back of Covid, it’s almost exploiting the fatigue of our populace, our policymakers and the rest of it, and we have to be vigilant,” Chief Executive Officer Seth Lederman said in an interview.

Meanwhile, Siga’s share price has roughly doubled this year despite the broader market uncertainty. It’s on pace to close at a record high on Monday. The firm makes a treatment called tecovirimat, also known as Tpoxx, which is approved for smallpox in the US, and monkeypox and other viruses in the EU and UK.

“Increasingly, government agencies involved in health preparedness around the world are recognizing that by increasing both the scale and scope of TPOXX procurement and stockpiling, they can be better prepared for the outbreak risks of smallpox, monkeypox, and other viruses in the orthopox virus family and ensure that patients are able to access a proven safe and effective treatment,” Siga CEO Phillip Gomez wrote.

Monkeypox is considered a cousin of the smallpox virus.

On the vaccine side, Cowen’s Beaker named Bavarian Nordic A/S, which makes Jynneos, a vaccine that’s approved for monkeypox, among key beneficiaries of WHO’s declaration. The firm’s American Depositary Receipts jumped 10% in US trading.

(Updates to closing trading and to add Tonix’s CEO comments.)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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