Here Are 3 Ways to Play the Growing Market for Vaccines Right Now

Donald Trump's upset presidential win had pharmaceutical stocks reversing course upward on Wednesday.

Some of the sector's woes had been due to concerns that a Hillary Clinton presidency would challenge the industry and its business practices. With Trump as president-elect, the Biotechnology Index shot up by more than 8.8% on Wednesday.

To be sure, these kinds of one-day gains aren't likely to be sustainable. The market will soon correct itself.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't still some explosive profits to be made from pharmaceuticals. And some of the biggest moneymakers will be companies that develop and manufacture vaccines.

Let's look at three top players.

1. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Among the ranks of big pharmaceutical companies is GlaxoSmithKline. This company's pneumonia and hepatitis B vaccines have been particularly big moneymakers for the company.

During the second quarter, its vaccines business recorded growth of 11%. In addition, the company's recent acquisition of Novartis has added to its portfolio, especially with its popular meningitis vaccines, Bexsero and Menveo.

However, as well all know, the biggest profits can be made not from investing in Big Pharma companies but from smaller-capitalization stocks in the biotechnology sector. It is important for investors to look carefully at their products and marketing strategies, which may allow them to catch a company just as its rising.

2. Merck (MRK)
Big Pharma rival Merck also boasts a sizable number of vaccine technologies.

This year, the company said that it would team up with privately held Modena Therapeutics to develop and manufacture vaccines that treat one of the deadliest, most widespread types of disease: cancer. This is a huge opportunity for investors, as the cancer treatment and prevention industry is mammoth in size.

Merck also makes the popular human papillomavirus vaccine, Gardasil. In the third quarter, sales of Gardasil and Gardasil 9 increased by 38%, to $860 million.

And the company has also seen a sizable boost to sales of its measles, mumps, rubella and varicella virus vaccine, Proquad.

As demand for Merck's preventative therapies continues to grow, investors stand to see even more profits from its stock.

3. Pfizer (PFE)
Among the top players in this field is Pfizer. The company is among the biggest in Big Pharma, with a market cap nearing $200 billion.

However, thanks to its promising portfolio of vaccines, Pfizer could grow even bigger.

The crown jewel of Pfizer's vaccine portfolio is Prevnar, which was created to prevent pneumonia, an illness that can be fatal to the elderly, as well as those with weakened immune systems. In the third quarter, Prevnar brought $1.54 billion in revenue into Pfizer's coffers.

And Pfizer's portfolio keeps growing. Last year, the company purchased Redvax, a company that specializes in vaccine therapies. This drastically broadened the company's vaccine lineup.

Continue to hold onto or grab more shares of Pfizer as a vaccine profit maker.

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The author is an independent contractor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.

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