BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN): 10x Returns to Investors

October 18, 2021
Dr. Vamil Divan is a Managing Director at Mizuho Securities

Vamil Divan, M.D., Managing Director and Senior Analyst, Mizuho

Soumit Roy, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Healthcare Analyst of Jones Trading Institutional Services

Soumit Roy, Ph.D., Healthcare Analyst, Jones Trading Institutional Services

BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX)  and Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) are two of the biggest investment payoffs over the last ten years.  The equity analysts that correctly identified these big two winners for investors deserve a closer look.

Soumit Roy, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Healthcare Analyst of Jones Trading Institutional Services LLC.

Dr. Roy is responsible for research coverage on biotechnology companies within the healthcare sector for Jones Trading.

Prior to joining Jones Trading in 2018, Dr. Roy was a senior research associate at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, covering small- and mid-cap biotechnology companies with innovative technologies, notably T-cell therapy, targeted medicines, gene editing and next-generation immuno-oncology.

He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, in the Clinical Immunology Department, and his research was focused on understanding and discovering novel agents to improve vaccines.

He earned his Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, where he helped to develop a novel drug candidate that targets the powerhouse of cancer cells to stop cancerous growth.

He holds two master’s degrees, in developmental biology and biochemistry, and has published in the highest-rated scientific journals.  In 2019, Dr. Roy identified a company that was later purchased for stock by BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and returned big for investors who followed his advice.

Dr. Soumit Roy, in a 2,849 word interview on March 22, 2019 exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript, correctly called out an obscure biotech stock for investors:

“Key names are Neon Therapeutics. They are ahead by at least a year and a half over their peers. They have already presented lung cancer data and melanoma data in IO naive patients, showing 25% to 40% improvement on top of Opdivo, in combination therapy regimen with Opdivo.

So far, Neon is clearly ahead in the race. Right on its heels are Gritstone and Moderna that just IPO-ed.

The reason I’m mentioning these names is to give a sense how far ahead Neon is over the peers.

What I would say is we have turned the corner. It is the middle of the beginning, as we see neoantigen companies are taking their place and bringing forward therapeutic candidates.

For the next two to three years, we believe investors are going to put a lot of focus on these names like Neon TherapeuticsGritstone (NASD AQ:GRTS), Moderna Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Genocea (NASDAQ:GNCA). We would also keep an eye on the Paris-listed stock OSE Immunotherapeutics (OTCMKTS:ORPOF)…

So what is happening is, these companies like NeonGritstone and Moderna are using high-throughput screening followed by artificial intelligence algorithms to figure out what really are the patient-specific mutations on top of the background noise.

What they are learning is that there is a signature mutational profile for each individual patient. We believe companies will be capitalizing on these findings and will be pushing personalized medicines in the coming years…

They may use that information to make T-cell therapy or maybe small molecule inhibitors.”

Following this interview, in January of 2020, BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Neon Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGN) announced a definitive merger agreement under which BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) acquired Neon in an all-stock transaction which closed on May 06, 2020.

Vamil Divan, M.D., is a Vice President and Senior Analyst responsible for coverage of the life science tools and diagnostics sector at Credit Suisse Group and is now a Managing Director at Mizuho.

He joined the equity research department at Credit Suisse in 2007 as a member of the U.S. pharmaceuticals team.

Before joining Credit Suisse, Dr. Divan had worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than five years at Roche, and then Pfizer Inc. He is a board-certified Internist and was a practicing Physician before he transitioned into the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Divan holds a medical degree from the University of Buffalo, an MBA from New York University and a B.S. in health care administration and policy from the University of Pennsylvania

In an August 2012 interview, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript, Dr. Divan recommended medical diagnostic testing company Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) for investors.

“Sticking within the tools space, the one we really like is Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN). They’re really a pure-play genetic analysis company.

They’re the leader right now in the large machines that are used to do DNA sequencing and genetic analysis. Predominantly, this is done in the research setting right now, but we see a lot of opportunities to move some of the same technology into the clinical arena.

We think that the machines Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) has out now and the ones that they will be selling over the next several quarters are poised to be very successful as gene sequencing, and genetic analysis becomes much more of a clinical tool and not just a research tool.”

At the time, Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) was $42/share.

Tycho W. Peterson is a Senior Analyst in J.P. Morgan’s health care group in New York, where he focuses on small- to mid-cap medical device, diagnostic and life science tools companies. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Mr. Peterson worked in the equity research division of Hambrecht & Quist, where he helped cover a variety of life science tool and genomics companies.

Before that, Mr. Peterson worked at PowderJect Pharmaceuticals in Oxford, England, where he was a Consultant to senior management, and at ICF Consulting in Washington, D.C. Mr. Peterson holds a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, and an MBA and MSc in biology from Oxford University.

In a February 2014 interview, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript, Tycho Peterson also identified Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) as a long term investment.

At that time, Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) was trading at $145/share.

“Our top pick for this year is Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN). We have them on the focus list. They are democratizing the sequencing market.

As the costs of sequencing are coming down, and they’re coming down very quickly, new markets are opening up in areas such as oncology, prenatal screening, consumer and ag/bio.

So IIllumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) is a hyper-growth company, and they have really distanced themselves from competitors.

They are in a really good position to capitalize on what is now seen as a $20 billion addressable market, but it is going to be a lot bigger than that when all is said and done.”

Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) is now $410 per share.

The Wall Street Transcript has many more top investment recommendations from these and many other industry experts, with industry and individual company reports for decades.  To see more investment recommendations like BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) search for them all on the Wall Street Transcript website.