Advent is traditionally a time of hope.
This is especially true this year.
In the meantime, there are increasing signs that the first approved vaccination against Covid-19 could possibly be available this year.
For example, the Mainz-based biotech company Biontech and its US partner Pfizer submitted an application for conditional marketing authorization in Europe.
In the US, the two companies even submitted an application for emergency approval on November 20.
The US company Moderna also announced on Tuesday that it had submitted an application for conditional marketing authorization in Europe.
Since supervisors and developers have cooperated intensively in the search for a drug against the pandemic from the start, this time it may be much faster than usual until the first approval is granted.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) aims to complete its assessment by December 29th at the latest.
The EU Commission, which has to approve market approval in Europe, then wants to clear the way for this within a few days.
As soon as approval is available, the vaccine can be delivered “within a few hours”, said Biontech CFO Sierk Poetting.
"We stockpiled production and everything that is there can be distributed within a few hours."
While Germany is busy building an appropriate vaccine infrastructure in light of the rapid pace of the manufacturers, the question arises for investors as to how and whether they can still benefit from the foreseeable success of the vaccine manufacturers.
It is less about the short-term imagination and more about the long-term potential that may be in the papers of some of the leading manufacturers.
The stock market has already anticipated the hopes.
Shares have soared since early November.
Although Pfizer and Biontech were the first to present the results of their vaccine studies, US competitor Moderna was the stock exchange darling.
Source: WORLD infographic
The stock more than doubled in value last month.
With the papers from Biontech it went up by 44 percent.
This is because, according to analysts, Moderna is one of the biggest profiteers.
The US biotech company, which was funded by the US government with around one billion dollars in the development of its vaccine, has signed numerous vaccine contracts with governments and negotiated the highest prices per dose in them to date.
Billion deals for vaccine doses
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has broken that down for some of Moderna's top vaccine deals.
Accordingly, Moderna charges $ 15.25 for the first 100 million vaccine doses in the US, and another 100 million costs $ 16.50.
In Europe, the company is calling for $ 25 per dose for 160 million vaccine doses.
Together, these two deals alone add up to $ 7.2 billion in sales.
Not bad for a company that had pre-Corona sales of $ 60.2 million.
If you take into account the other vaccine contracts known to date, sales even come to $ 13.3 billion, according to the Goldman Sachs analyst Sonya Bhatia.
The biotech company is suddenly moving in a similar sales region as, for example, the 350-year-old German pharmaceutical company Merck.
Moderna can now also keep up with the big players in terms of market value.
With the equivalent of 58 billion euros, the Americans are as expensive as the German Merck.
Many experts consider this to be far too high.
Source: WORLD infographic
The share is quoted a quarter above the average price target of the analysts.
Only three professionals trust Moderna to make further slight increases.
The courses at Biontech have also rushed away.
The share is quoted 22 percent above the fair value that the professionals believe it is.
And even Curevac, which is also working on an mRNA vaccine, still has chances of being involved in the business with the vaccine against Covid-19 from the stock market's perspective.
The share price doubled in November, even if the researchers from Tübingen lag behind the two leading mRNA manufacturers in their research.
The important clinical phase two or three should start by the end of the year, while Biontech and Moderna are already in the approval process.
But the company, in which the federal government has been involved since July, is committed to offering a particularly high-quality vaccine that uses very few raw materials and could therefore be cheaper than the two competing products.
Novavax is also a bit behind so far.
The company plans to file for approval in the first quarter.
That didn't stop investors from pushing Novavax shares up as well.
Tailwind for smaller competitors
In contrast, the large corporations are clearly lagging behind in the race for a vaccine.
The British group AstraZeneca was recently among the top three developers.
However, last week the company had to admit a dosing error in part of the important phase three clinical trial.
This should now be repeated.
Source: WORLD infographic
The company was punished on the stock exchange.
The share is now trading two percent lower than at the beginning of the year.
And that, although vaccine developers should actually be among the beneficiaries of the crisis year.
The problems at AstraZeneca have given the shares of smaller competitors, which use mRNA technology, a completely new process that is said to have fewer side effects than the AstraZeneca vaccine, even more tailwind.
In the short term, the potential of Moderna, Biontech & Co. seems to be exhausted.
Much more important for long-term investors, however, is the question of which provider among the smaller biotech stocks can prevail beyond the pandemic.
Biontech seems to be particularly broadly positioned.
The Mainz-based company has several vaccination candidates in the pipeline, including those against cancer, but also against HIV and tuberculosis.
In addition, the company is not only using mRNA technology, but is also working with various approaches, including monoclonal antibodies, to find new therapies against cancer.
Moderna, in turn, relies primarily on mRNA vaccinations.
In addition to the Covid-19 vaccination, a vaccine candidate against the cytomegalovirus and the Zika virus have progressed the most.
So far, the strategy has primarily focused on drugs against infectious diseases, with Moderna also testing mRNA technology for vaccinations against certain tumors.
In view of the enormous price gains, caution is called for: Anyone who wants to get involved now needs to be confident that the companies will be able to make the new technology fly in the long term.
Corona could be the perfect test case that the new technology actually enables effective vaccinations against infectious diseases.
If this can be applied to other pathogens, this could result in some potential for the future.
However, the risk of setbacks when buying individual stocks is very high, which is why risk-taking investors should spread their money over different providers.
Up to now there is no thoroughbred index fund that bundles the vaccine manufacturers.