Novavax Clinches $60M Defense Contract for Coronavirus Vaccine


Novavax, Inc. NVAX announced that it has been awarded a contract worth $60 million by the United States, Department of Defense (DoD) to support manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. Per the agreement, Novavax will deliver 10 million doses of NVX-CoV2373 to DoD that can be used in phase II/III clinical studies or under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) if approved by the FDA.

The deal win will help Novavax significantly expand its production capacity of NVX-CoV2373, which has been made using the company’s proprietary nanoparticle technology.

Going by the contract, Novavax will work with a U.S.-based biologics contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) to manufacture the antigen component of NVX-CoV2373 for at least 10 million doses of the vaccine. The company will further collaborate with more such CDMOs to scale up production and manufacture the Matrix-M adjuvant component of the vaccine in the United States.

Novavax already has an agreement with Emergent BioSolutions EBS to manufacture and supply GMP vaccine product for use in its clinical studies.

Last month, Novavax acquired Praha Vaccines in Czech Republic in an all-cash transaction of approximately $167 million. The acquisition added a biologics manufacturing facility, located in Bohumil, Czech Republic, to the company’s portfolio, which will likely provide an annual capacity of more than 1 billion doses of NVX-CoV2373 starting 2021.

Share of Novavax have skyrocketed 1022.1% so far this year compared with the industry’s increase of 7.9%.

We remind investors that in April 2020, Novavax identified its potential coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

Last month, Novavax initiated a phase I/II clinical study on the candidate, which is being conducted in two parts. The phase I portion will evaluate the candidate in approximately 130 healthy volunteers aged from 18 to 59 years at two sites in Australia. Preliminary immunogenicity and safety data from the study is expected in July.

Notably, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) provided an additional funding of up to $388 million to Novavax for the clinical development of NVX-CoV2373.

Notably, in March, the CEPI had already granted an initial funding of $4 million to back Novavax’s efforts for developing the vaccine candidate.

Significantly, the CEPI is financing several biotechs including Moderna MRNA, Inovio Pharmaceuticals and several universities to accelerate the development of vaccines against COVID-19.

Apart from CEPI, two organizations in the United States, namely the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are providing funds to companies involved in making drugs/vaccines. In May, pharma bigwig AstraZeneca AZN received more than $1billion in funding from BARDA to help produce a coronavirus vaccine, which is being presently developed in a phase II/III study in collaboration with Oxford University.

Zacks Rank

Novavax is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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