Shares of Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX) surged 31% by midday Tuesday on announcing that the U.S. government has sent it $1.6 billion to support the development of its Covid-19 vaccine.
The biotech firm said in a statement today that it will deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate NVX‑CoV2373 and could have it ready by as soon as late 2020. The program is known as Operation Warp Speed, designed to accelerate the development of the vaccine.
“The pandemic has caused an unprecedented public health crisis, making it more important than ever that industry, government and funding entities join forces to defeat the novel coronavirus together,” Stanley C. Erck, the president, and chief executive officer of Novavax, said in a statement today.
He added, “We are honored to partner with Operation Warp Speed to move our vaccine candidate forward with extraordinary urgency in the quest to provide vital protection to our nation’s population.”
In May, Novavax started a Phase 1/2 clinical trial involving 130 healthy patients aged 18 to 59 in Australia for its Covid-19 candidate. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations is funding up to $388 million for the testing; the company expects the preliminary results at the end of this month. Also, a Phase 2 trial is set to take place soon afterward.
SuperNovavax is at it again, as its stock has been trading at four-year highs in the past month. Shares of the company are up a whopping 2500% year-to-date.
“With this type of financial backing, this places NVAX in a very enviable position should its data look compelling later in the year,” Jared Holz, a health-care trading-desk analyst at Jefferies wrote in a note Tuesday.
Meanwhile, some Chinese firms have been making a considerable amount of progress in their developments for a Covid-19 vaccine. Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics Inc. (HKEX: 06185) will supply the Chinese military with its Covid-19 vaccine candidate Ad5-nCoV before entering the final testing phase; it also said Phase 1 and 2 trial results showed the candidate appeared to be safe. Halted traded Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (Nasdaq: SVA) expects to complete its Phase 2 trial at the end of 2020 and begin Phase 3 efficacy studies in the second half with overseas partners.
Novavax is planning a Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects this fall.