Top Biotech Stocks Leading the Fight Against Pandemics

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Biotech stocks have been at the forefront of the fight against pandemics, attracting significant attention from investors and the global community. These companies play a critical role in developing innovative treatments, vaccines, and diagnostic tools to combat infectious diseases, such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak. In this article, we will delve into the world of biotech stocks, focusing on the key players leading the charge against pandemics. We will explore their stock performance before and during the pandemic, analyze market dynamics and investor sentiment, discuss challenges and setbacks faced by biotech companies, and look ahead to the future of biotech stocks beyond the current health crisis.

Biotech Stocks and Pandemic Response

The biopharmaceutical sector has emerged as a powerful solution to the health, economic, and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Biotech stocks, such as Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and Gilead Sciences, have been at the forefront of developing vaccines and treatments against the virus. These companies have seen significant fluctuations in their stock prices due to the progress of their clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and the global demand for their products.

Some key trends in biotech stocks during the pandemic:

  1. Vaccine developers: Companies like Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna experienced substantial growth in their share prices as they successfully developed and rolled out mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. Moderna’s stock soared 866% from February 2020 to February 2021, while Pfizer’s stock decreased by approximately 8% in the same period.
  2. Treatment innovators: Gilead Sciences saw its shares rise 18% after developing remdesivir, the first FDA-approved COVID-19 treatment. Other companies working on monoclonal antibodies and antiviral drugs also attracted investor interest.
  3. Market volatility: The pandemic led to increased market volatility, affecting the returns of biotech stocks in both pre-COVID and COVID periods. However, the biotech industry showed resilience, with some companies experiencing significant increases in value due to their involvement in testing or potential treatments for the virus.
  4. Funding and revenue: Venture capital funding for biotech companies reached an all-time high in 2020, with $21.9 billion invested in Q1–Q3 alone, representing a 52% year-over-year increase. Biotech revenue surged 35% from 2015–2021, reaching $216.7 billion in 2021, and biotech IPOs hit a record high of $104.7 billion in February 2021.

The success of biotech stocks during the pandemic is often tied to the progression of their clinical trials, with positive or negative developments having a significant impact on stock prices. While companies directly involved in COVID-19 research and product development have seen substantial growth, those without direct involvement may have experienced a decrease in stock value due to market volatility and shifts in investor sentiment towards the healthcare and biotech sectors.

Key Biotech Leaders in the COVID-19 Battle

Several biotech companies have emerged as leaders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, developing innovative vaccines and treatments.

  1. Moderna: Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine has been widely administered, leading to a surge in its share prices. The company faced challenges but remains promising for vaccinating against various diseases and pioneering technology.
  2. BioNTech: In collaboration with Pfizer and Fosun Pharma, BioNTech’s NASDAQ stock price increased by 60% when it announced plans to start human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine. The company’s mRNA technology has been instrumental in developing effective vaccines.
  3. Pfizer: Partnering with BioNTech, Pfizer has been at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution. The company’s shares have witnessed significant growth due to its vaccine success.

Other notable companies contributing to the fight against COVID-19 include:

  • Novavax and Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Sanofi, which collaborated with Translate Bio to produce mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines
  • A2A Pharmaceuticals is testing selective covalent SARS-CoV-2 MPro inhibitors
  • Abbott is launching antibody blood tests and supporting the use of HIV medicines for COVID-19 treatment
  • Adaptive Biotechnologies, leveraging its immune medicine platform for therapeutic development
  • Altimmune is testing a single-dose intranasal COVID-19 vaccine
  • Amgen is developing antibody therapies for COVID-19
  • APEIRON Biologics AG and APEPTICO are researching treatments for COVID-19 and acute lung injury

Diagnostic companies like Co-Diagnostics (CODX) have also played a crucial role by developing tests for detecting coronavirus-related illnesses. Collaborations between pharmaceutical giants like GlaxoSmithKline and smaller biotech firms have accelerated the development of protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidates. Companies such as Steris, Kimberly-Clark, and Maryland Tech Council members have provided essential supplies and support for health care facilities during the pandemic.

Stock Performance Analysis Pre- and Post-Pandemic

The stock performance of biotech companies has been a rollercoaster ride before and after the pandemic. In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, biotech stocks experienced significant growth as investors bet on companies developing vaccines and treatments. However, the sector has faced challenges post-pandemic, with the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index entering the fourth quarter of 2023 more than 50 percent lower than its peak in February 2021. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has also lost 26% since its 52-week high on Aug. 9, while the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF has plummeted about 42% over the past year.

Despite these challenges, the biotech industry is showing signs of recovery in early 2024. The IBD Medical-Biomed/Biotech industry group ranks 13 out of 197 industry groups in terms of 12-month performance, indicating a strong rebound. Four significant takeovers, including Bristol Myers Squibb’s $14 billion purchase of Karuna Therapeutics and Roche’s $3.1 billion acquisition of Carmot Therapeutics, were the driving forces behind this recovery. Specific biotech stocks trading above $10 with promising fundamental and technical metrics include:

  1. Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX)
  2. Gyre Therapeutics (GYRE)
  3. Alpine Immune Sciences (ALPN)
  4. Krystal Biotech (KRYS)
  5. Vericel (VCEL)

However, not all biotech companies have fared well. AstraZeneca’s shares fell 2.28% in 2021 after its vaccine underwent investigations into blood-clotting side effects and subsequent suspensions from several countries. Post-pandemic, the biotech sector faces challenges such as a shift in investor sentiment, plummeting valuations, and reduced access to capital for smaller and earlier-stage companies. Biotech deal-making value decreased by 46% compared to last year and remains slow through mid-2022. Despite these obstacles, biotech innovation is expected to continue, and capital will follow science.

Market Dynamics and Investor Sentiment

Investor sentiment has played a significant role in the stock returns and volatility of biotech companies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that positive sentiment leads to increased returns, while negative sentiment contributes to higher volatility. The pandemic has also given rise to new sentiment indicators, such as a news-based index and a pandemic-induced uncertainty index, which capture market sentiment and the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

The availability of risk capital, policy changes, M&A activity, and technological advancements all influence the biotech industry. These factors contribute to the distinct boom and bust cycles experienced by the Biotech Index (XBI), which has outperformed the S&P 500 index (SPX) by approximately 100% since 2006. During the pandemic, institutional investors are likely to avoid risks and focus on larger, more established biotech and pharma companies, while the IPO market for biotech companies is expected to remain closed for several months.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, analysts remain cautiously optimistic about the future of biotech stocks. The science, technology, and innovation in the sector are considered the strongest they have ever been, and there is hope for more efficient raises happening toward the end of the year. However, the current predictions suggest that it will take a minimum of two or three months before biotech stocks can make significant progress again.

Challenges and Setbacks for Biotech Companies

Biotech companies face various challenges and setbacks during pandemics, which can impact their ability to develop and deliver essential products and services effectively. Some of the key challenges include:

  1. Supply Chain Disruptions: Pandemics can lead to supply chain disruptions, causing delays in delivering essential products and services. This can be particularly problematic for biotech companies that rely on specialized materials and equipment for their research and development efforts.
  2. Funding Constraints: Economic downturns and shifts in investor sentiment during pandemics can make it difficult for biotech companies to secure the necessary funding to continue their research and development efforts. This can slow down progress and hinder the development of new treatments and vaccines.
  3. Regulatory Hurdles: The urgent need for new treatments and vaccines during pandemics can put pressure on regulatory agencies, potentially slowing down the approval process. Biotech companies must navigate these regulatory hurdles while also ensuring the safety and efficacy of their products.
  4. Workforce Challenges: Labor shortages due to illness or fear of contagion can impact productivity and project timelines. Biotech companies may need to adapt to remote work solutions, which can present additional challenges, particularly for those that require highly skilled and experienced scientists, health experts, and paramedical personnel.
  5. Increased Competition: The intense focus on developing treatments and vaccines during pandemics can lead to increased competition among biotech companies. This can make it harder for individual companies to secure contracts and stand out in the market.
  6. Technological Limitations: The rapid development of vaccines and therapies during pandemics may require biotech companies to invest in new technologies or methods to keep up with the demand. This can be challenging, particularly for smaller companies with limited resources.
  7. Shifting Market Dynamics: Pandemics can cause significant changes in market dynamics, requiring biotech companies to adapt their strategies to remain competitive and relevant. This may involve shifting focus to new product lines or exploring new partnerships and collaborations.

Despite these challenges, the biotech sector has shown remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the industry still faces ongoing challenges, including competition, the need for continued positive clinical trial results, and maintaining a favorable regulatory environment. Biotech companies must remain agile and adaptable to navigate these challenges and continue to develop life-saving treatments and vaccines.

Future of Biotech Stocks Beyond the Pandemic

There will be significant growth in the biotech industry in the upcoming years due to a number of factors:

  1. Aging Population and Disease Prevalence: With an aging population and increasing prevalence of diseases, the demand for innovative treatments and therapies is expected to rise. This trend is likely to fuel the growth of the biotech sector, outpacing the overall economy.
  2. Promising Biotech Stocks: Investors should keep an eye on specific biotech stocks that show strong potential, such as:
    • Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX)
    • Gyre Therapeutics (GYRE)
    • Alpine Immune Sciences (ALPN)
    • Krystal Biotech (KRYS)
    • Vericel (VCEL)
  3. Obesity Market Opportunities: The obesity market presents significant opportunities for biotech companies. Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk are expected to generate combined sales of $36.9 billion in 2024 and $68.8 billion by 2028 for their injectable drugs for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Biotech companies are focusing on differentiating themselves in the competitive GLP-1 market by improving the quality of weight-loss treatments and targeting muscle mass.
  4. Gene-Editing Treatments: Gene-editing treatments, such as Crispr Therapeutics and Vertex’s sickle cell disease treatment, are expected to see slow launches due to the complexities of gene editing and patient eligibility. However, companies like Intellia Therapeutics and Verve Therapeutics are making progress in testing in vivo gene-editing drugs for various conditions, including swelling diseases, abnormal protein buildup, and familial hypercholesterolemia.
  5. Neuroscience Advancements: The neuroscience space is showing promise, with new approvals for Alzheimer’s and ALS treatments and Karuna Therapeutics’ schizophrenia drug under FDA review. These developments are expected to drive growth in the biotech sector.
  6. Impact of Artificial Intelligence: The rise of AI is expected to have a significant impact on biotech stocks. AI will help unravel puzzles between biology and disease by analyzing large databases of genetics, aiding in the development of new treatments and therapies.

As the biotech sector continues to innovate and address critical health challenges, investors should closely monitor the progress of clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and the adoption of new technologies. The future of biotech stocks beyond the pandemic looks promising, with the potential for groundbreaking discoveries and significant growth opportunities.


In summary, the biotech industry has demonstrated adaptability and inventiveness lately, especially in the battle against pandemics like COVID-19. The biotechnology industry is expected to grow significantly as long as biotechnology companies continue to develop new medications and vaccines with FDA approval and regulatory support. With both large pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotech companies advancing drug development, particularly for rare diseases, the United States continues to lead the world in biotechnology. Biotech stocks have the potential to yield substantial returns for investors in the biotechnology sector, which has had a substantial impact on the financial markets. Notwithstanding obstacles like rising interest rates and the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the world economy, the industry has seen significant venture funding and prosperous IPOs. The government’s initiatives, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, are anticipated to bolster the biopharmaceutical industry’s expansion. With developments in mRNA vaccines, gene editing, and therapies for diseases like cystic fibrosis, the future of biotechnology looks bright. The biotech industry is expected to maintain its current trajectory of innovation and success as companies navigate capital markets and pursue regulatory approval for their drug candidates. Investors should be aware of the significant risk involved in biotech stocks, though, as well as the significance of scientific research in advancing the field. With significant effects on both the general stock market and public health, the biotech industry is about to enter a golden age.

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What are the leading biotech stocks to consider purchasing?

The top biotech stocks currently recommended for purchase are:

  • Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
  • Moderna (MRNA)
  • Royalty Pharma (RPRX)
  • Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP)
  • BioNTech (BNTX)
  • Incyte (INCY)
  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ)

What factors are contributing to the poor performance of biotech stocks?

Biotech stocks may be underperforming due to ongoing health policy changes and the ongoing debates surrounding drug pricing. These factors can lead to uncertainty in the biotech market.

Which pharmaceutical company is utilizing AI in drug discovery?

Absci Corp. (ABSI), founded in 2011, is a pioneering drug discovery company that employs generative AI to develop protein-based drugs. Their work mainly focuses on biologics, particularly antibodies and other protein therapeutics.

Which pharmaceutical stocks are considered the best to buy for potential long-term growth?

Some of the top pharmaceutical stocks with potential for long-term growth include:

  • Sun Pharmaceutical Ltd.
  • Cipla Ltd.
  • Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd.
  • Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
  • Gland Pharma Ltd.
  • Abbott India Ltd.
  • Alkem Laboratories Ltd.
  • Zydus LifeScience Ltd

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