The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus has caused further instability, fear and deaths of hundreds in many West African countries, including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola is also driving up profits in some corners of the stock market as investors are hedging their bets against which company will be the first to find the cure.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TKMR)
Vancouver-based Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) has experienced significant growth since the first case of Ebola was reported in March in Guinea. According to ibtimes.com, stock prices on Tekmira jumped “62 percent between March 3 and March 11, when the outbreak first began.” The stocks have since been up 350 percent from a low just below $7 at this time last year. Tekmira signed a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense four years ago to develop its treatment, called TKM-Ebola. Now the drug has emerged as one of the leading candidates for possible experimental use.
Last year around the same time, the pharmaceutical company had a market capitalization of $65 million. Fast-forward, and the market cap is now approximately $736 million, based on estimates by marketwatch.com.
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, a drug developer in Durham, North Carolina, received a $4.1 million award in federal research funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in August. The multimillion-dollar fund is to develop an experimental antiviral drug known by the code BCX4430 as a potential treatment for Ebola.
Last week, according to businessinsider.com, BioCryst shares were up more than 14 percent in after-hours trading. Ycarts.com reports BioCryst’s market cap was at $88 billion last July. This month it is at an astounding $918 billion.