Shares of Eastman Kodak surged 318 percent to $25.26 per share on July 29 – its best ever – after United States President Donald Trump announced the company had a deal to produce generic drugs in light of COVID-19 pandemic.
The jump at one point of the day was 570 percent at $60 per share and trading was halted 20 times during the day due to high volatility. This follows the 203 percent spike on July 28 when the US government awarded a first-of-its-kind $765-million loan to Kodak to produce ingredients under the Defense Production Act.
Total increase in the share price for this week alone was 1,300 percent, hitting a market-cap of more than $1.5 billion from $115 million till July 27, CNBC reported.
Kodak Executive Chairman Jim Continenza said they will leverage its infrastructure and expertise in chemicals manufacturing to “play a critical role in the return of a reliable American pharmaceutical supply chain”.
Existing facilities in Minnesota, New York, St. Paul and Rochester will be expanded under a new Kodak Pharmaceuticals arm, the company added.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Notably, this is not the first time Kodak has ventured into the pharma business. It produced non-prescription medicines like aspirin during the 90s, but sold the business to SmithKline Beecham in 1994 for $2.925 billion.
Trump termed the deal “the most important” in US pharma industries history adding: “We will bring back our jobs and we will make America the world’s premier medical manufacturer and supplier.”Under government support, the unit will have the capacity to produce up to 25 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) needed to make generic drugs in the US and reduce dependency on foreign countries for medical supplies.