In this excerpt from the complete 2,755 word interview with Dr. Kumaraguru Raja, he introduces two companies that are developing treatments for significant high profile infectious diseases:
Dr. Raja: Yes, it is interesting that you bring that up because the two companies I cover in the infectious disease space are SCYNEXIS (NASDAQ:SCYX) and Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT). SCYNEXIS is an antifungal company that is developing drugs for vulvovaginal candidiasis, and the other company I cover is Vaxart.
Vaxart’s focus has been to develop vaccines that can be taken orally compared to the vaccines right now in the market, like for example, the flu vaccine right now, you need to take an injection. So Vaxart is developing vaccines for flu as well as norovirus that can be taken orally.
They have recently announced that they are also developing a vaccine for coronavirus. I think as the coronavirus is in focus, people are paying a lot more attention to the innovation that is happening in the health care space. I think some of the companies have performed very well, especially the companies that are developing drugs targeting coronavirus, but overall, it also shows the importance with regard to the therapeutics that are being developed for various diseases where there is a significant unmet need.
TWST: If a company has something promising to specifically treat the coronavirus, are there any approaches it should take as it works with the FDA? There is certainly a lot of attention that might distract people or make it more difficult to come up with something under more pressure.
Dr. Raja: The focus has been on coronavirus especially because we have seen this happening over the past couple of months. The companies that are developing the drugs, they are in the early stages of development. Some of them are rushing to develop the drugs, but I think especially Vaxart has a different profile because, as I said, they are developing vaccines for various infectious diseases that can be taken as an oral formulation.
The advantage with oral formulation is that they also provide mucosal immune response, which is through the gastrointestinal tract and the respiratory tract. This is very important because coronavirus is primarily an infection of the respiratory tract. And I think this kind of differentiated approach will help in terms of developing vaccines for these diseases.
TWST: Of the companies you cover, have there been any concerns, as far as coronavirus, about the supply chain getting impacted or manufacturing impacted if it involves China?
Dr. Raja: Not in terms of the coverage universe I have. Most of the companies I cover do not even have commercial drug launches as yet. And most of the manufacturing is being done in the U.S. for these companies. But in terms of raw materials, we do not know yet how this is going to impact. There has been no impact as of now, and the companies have not provided guidance on any impact so far.
Read the entire 2,755 word interview, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript, to get the complete picture from Dr. Raja.