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Will Vir Biotech (VIR) Experience Better Fortune In 2020?

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Vir Biotechnology Inc. (VIR), which had a lackluster reception to its initial public offering, has gained 35 percent over the last 5 trading days but is still trading below its offering price of $20 per share.

Vir Biotechnology is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on treating and preventing serious infectious diseases.

The Company has two drug candidates in clinical testing stage - VIR-2218 and VIR-2482.

-- VIR-2218 is a subcutaneously administered HBV-targeting siRNA that is currently in phase I/II clinical trial in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV). This compound is being developed as part of a research collaboration between Vir and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALNY) that was signed in November 2018. Additional data for this trial is expected to be available in the first half of 2020.

-- VIR-2482, a monoclonal antibody being developed as universal prophylaxis for influenza A, is in an ongoing phase I/II clinical trial. Data from the first flu season of this study is anticipated to be available in the second half of 2020 and from the second flu season of this trial is expected to be available in the first half of 2021.

Planned clinical trials with VIR-2218:

-- A phase II trial in China (with partner Brii Biosciences) in patients with hepatitis B virus is expected to start later this year.
-- A phase II combination clinical trial with PEG-IFN-? is also scheduled to start later this year.

Also in the pipeline are three compounds in preclinical testing - VIR-3434 for the functional cure of HBV, VIR-1111, an HIV T cell vaccine based on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a commonly occurring virus in humans, and VIR-2020, a TB T cell vaccine, which is also based on human cytomegalovirus.

For VIR-3434, the Company anticipates receiving approval for its Clinical Trial Application (CTA ) in the first half of 2020. An Investigational New Drug application (IND) for VIR-1111 is also expected to be submitted in the first half of this year.

Vir Biotechnology's first earnings report as a public company was released on November 19, 2019, and it was for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Net loss for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, widened to $48.3 million or $4.60 per share from $33.5 million or $4.16 per share for the same period in 2018. Total revenues for the third quarter of 2019 were $1.4 million, down from $2.9 million for the same period in 2018. This decrease was primarily due to a decline in grant revenue.

The Company ended the third quarter of 2019, with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of about $320.2 million.

Vir Biotechnology went public on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on October 11, 2019, offering its shares at a price of $20.00 each. The stock opened the first day of trading at $16.15 and closed at $14.02. The IPO lockup period expires on April 8, 2020.

VIR touched a new high of $17.30 in intraday trading yesterday (Jan.16, 2020), before closing at $17.17, up 12.52%.

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