While COVID-19 has been an overall negative for most companies, others have benefited.

Featuring heavily on our top 50 stocks for February and March were a small cap contingent of potential coronavirus fighters, including any company that mentioned ‘hand sanitiser’.

It was a broad list of stocks including tele-health plays, hand sanitiser manufacturers, tech stocks winning government contracts and biotechs testing their drugs against the virus.

As of right now, a portfolio of all these stocks would have returned 137 per cent in the last 12 months and 43 per cent in the last 6.

But the overall numbers of winners and losers are almost dead level, and only 7 of the 25 stocks on our list have seen gains of over 100 per cent over the past year.

Code Name Price (I) 1Y Tot Ret 6M Tot Ret Market Cap
ZNO ZOONO GROUP LTD 2.97 2910 389 $510.5M
PAA PHARMAUST LTD 0.2 300 117 $66.1M
HT8 HARRIS TECHNOLOGY GROUP LTD 0.035 192 289 $6.8M
MSB MESOBLAST LTD 3.36 132 52 $2.1B
WSP WHISPIR LTD 3.35 125 125 $334.3M
AEI AERIS ENVIRONMENTAL LTD 0.685 118 153 $163.7M
GSS GENETIC SIGNATURES LTD 2.33 116 140 $335.1M
UCM USCOM LTD 0.215 63 76 $41.2M
BIT BIOTRON LTD 0.1 19 79 $72.7M
HCT HOLISTA COLLTECH LTD 0.061 14 -9 $21.8M
IHL INCANNEX HEALTHCARE LTD 0.07 0 15 $52.8M
ESE ESENSE-LAB LTD-CDI 0.019 0 67 $10.2M
DEM DE.MEM LTD 0.16 -6 -33 $28.1M
GTG GENETIC TECHNOLOGIES LTD 0.006 -16 -45 $45.1M
BKL BLACKMORES LTD 72.35 -19 -17 $1.4B
ADR ADHERIUM LTD 0.022 -22 -32 $15.0M
FOD FOOD REVOLUTION GROUP LTD/TH 0.054 -37 -31 $39.1M
JAT JATENERGY LTD 0.035 -38 -35 $33.6M
MX1 MICRO-X LTD 0.155 -39 -7 $53.6M
WNB WELLNESS AND BEAUTY SOLUTION 0.007 -46 -22 $9.2M
LSH LIFESPOT HEALTH LTD 0.038 -53 36 $3.9M
MPH MEDILAND PHARM LTD 0.125 -59 -55 $39.1M
1ST 1ST GROUP LTD 0.03 -68 -60 $13.2M
NET NETLINKZ LTD 0.058 -79 -45 $118.1M
ONE ONEVIEW HEALTHCARE PLC-CDI 0.044 -82 -63 $8.1M

 

The Magnificent Seven

The biggest gainer is hand sanitiser maker Zoono (ASX:ZNO), up nearly 3000 per cent in a year.

Zoono and its peer Holista Colltech (ASX:HCT) both reported exponential demand for their hand sanitisers as COVID-19 broke out initially in Asia.

Holista, however, is only up 14 per cent on a yearly basis and has retreated in recent days after  encountering supply chain issues.

Coming in at 2nd and 4th are two biotechs looking to fight the virus head on in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) (+132%) and PharmAust (ASX:PAA)  (+300%).

Mesoblast is the world’s biggest listed stem-cell play, but it is testing its treatment on acute respiratory distress syndrome (Ards), the largest cause of death with COVID-19.

This is in addition to stem-cell clinical trials on chronic heart failure and lower back pain — both of which are expected this quarter.

PharmAust is  trialling its cancer-fighting monepantel drug against COVID-19. For both diseases, it inhibits a signalling pathway into the cell cycle.

Another biotech on the list is Genetic Signatures (ASX:GSS) (+116%) which developed its own COVID-19 test that is approved in Australia and Europe.

Harris Technology (ASX:HT8) (+192%) was already an online shopping operator, but in April it took the step of launching protective hygiene products including face masks, alcohol wipes and hand sanitisers.

Rounding out the list were clean tech Aeris Environmental (ASX:AEI) (+118%) which has been providing hygiene products and communication automation software stock Whispir (ASX:WSP) (+125%) which has won several public sector contracts during the pandemic.