Inside Our Impact Portfolio: Why We Invest in Dynavax Technologies

Miscellaneous Vaccine

Here’s a look at why we added Dynavax to our Genus Fossil Free High-Impact Fund

For the past several years, vaccines – and their makers – have dominated news headlines. Pharmaceutical company brand names have become as commonplace as the everyday brands we use at home. And more people than ever have become aware of the processes involved in vaccine development, testing and approval for use.  

The pharmaceutical sector has not only grown in terms of broad awareness over the past several years, it’s also grown in size and revenues. Valued at U.S. $405 billion in 2020, it’s expected to grow 11% annually until 2028 thanks to advances in technology, efficient manufacturing processes and investment flow. 

Dynavax breaks through on Hepatitis B

While it might not be a household name like Pfizer or AstraZeneca, Dynavax Technologies has grown to become a unique force in vaccine development since it launched in 1996 and went public in 2004, though its success was over 20 years in the making.

A biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development and commercialization of novel vaccines, Dynavax was co-founded by a professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Its first vaccine – a hepatitis B shot that offers a stronger and longer-lasting immune response than its competitors against a virus with no known cure, was required by the FDA to conduct multiple rigorous clinical trials prior to its approval in 2018. Known as Heplisav-B, it became the first new hepatitis vaccine to be approved in the U.S. in more than 25 years, with results showing a significantly higher rate of protection from Hepatitis B than its main competitor.

Dynavax’s role in the pandemic response

As part of its Heplisav-B vaccine, Dynavax developed an adjuvant called CpG 1018, which is an ingredient added to vaccines to increase the body’s immune response. As part of its pandemic response, Dynavax has worked with Clover Biopharmaceuticals to provide its CpG 1018 adjuvant as an addition to its COVID vaccine in order to accelerate its development. 

The Clover vaccine recently reported positive efficacy results in its phase 2/3 global trial.

Why we invest in Dynavax

We added Dynavax to our impact fund in July of this year and “its performance has been amazing,” says Mike Thiessen, Chief Sustainability Officer. “At the beginning of the year, it’s stock price was under $5, and now it’s at $17, an amazing growth of 266%.”

Dynavax not only ticks the right financial score boxes, it also aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goal #3 – Good Health and Well-being, and it has a high Net Impact score – 99/100 (source: MSCI ESG Research). “It’s extremely high in both financial and impact scores,” Thiessen says.

With authorization for use of its Heplisav-B vaccine in the EU and the U.S., Dynavax shows the potential for $800 million annual market growth in the U.S., and its CpG 1018 supply contracts represent $300 to $400 million in revenue opportunity this year alone. 

To learn more about Dynavax and the other holdings in our impact funds, talk to a Genus advisor today.

Disclaimer – Genus Capital: This document was prepared for general information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for specific professional advice. In particular, its contents are not Intended to be construed as the provision of investment, legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice or recommendations of any  kind, or to form the basis of any decision to do or to refrain from doing anything. As such, this document should not be relied upon for investment or other financial decisions  and no such decisions should be taken on the basis of its contents without seeking specific advice. This document is based on information available to Genus Capital  Management at the date of issue, and takes no account of subsequent developments after that date. In producing this document, Genus has relied upon the accuracy  and completeness of certain data and information obtained from third parties.

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