Novovax Awarded $4mn For Coronavirus Drug Development

Novovax Awarded $4mn For Coronavirus Drug Development
March 11, 2020

 

For the past week, investors across the globe have been dumping stocks as the coronavirus continues to spread in an unabated manner. However, one pharmaceutical stock has started appreciating this week. Specifically, the company which has hogged the limelight yesterday was Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a final-stage biotechnology firm preparing next-generation drugs for critical infectious diseases. The company revealed yesterday that it had been awarded $4 million by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Furthermore, CEPI and Novavax are also continuing their discussions on supplementary financing from CEPI to resolve funding issues related to the company’s Phase 1 trial. Following the news, the stock of Novavax has gained 6.29% or $0.63 to close at $10.65.

A unique strain of the coronavirus initially showed up in the final quarter of 2019 in China before spreading at an alarming pace across the world. The disease, referred to as COVID-19, causes acute pneumonia-like symptoms in most of the affected persons. Coronavirus, named after their “crown-like” appearance, is part of a large family of viruses that quickly spread from animals to humans and cause diseases such as SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), in addition to COVID-19. The infection can spread through human-to-human transmission.

The company strives to improve global health through the development and commercialization of path-breaking drugs to stop critical contagious diseases. The company’s NanoFlu, a quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle drug, is presently undergoing Phase 3 clinical testing. Likewise, ResVax, an RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) drug for infants, is the only drug to illustrate efficacy in Phase 3 clinical testing. In the recent past, Novavax has started developing a drug for COVID-19.

Stanley Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Novavax, elaborated on the importance of funding for the first stage. The CEO said, “This first stage of funding from CEPI is critical to enable the ongoing development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidates. We commend CEPI for its role as a vital partner to bridge the funding gap for innovative biotech companies like Novavax, which have robust vaccine technology platforms. Novavax is working tirelessly to create a vaccine against this growing epidemic.”

Novavax has already developed and is presently evaluating several recombinant nanoparticle drug candidates in animals before initiating clinical trials. Phase 1 clinical trial is anticipated to begin in the late spring of 2020. Novavax’s COVID-19 drug candidates were developed with its copyrighted recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to create antigens extracted from the coronavirus spike (S) protein. Novavax also anticipates using its proprietary Matrix-M additive with its COVID-19 drug candidate to improve immune responsiveness.

Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, explained the need to develop vaccines quickly through cooperation with pharmaceutical companies and health authorities. Hatchett said, “The current crisis shows that we cannot prevent all infectious diseases from emerging. But we can and must double down on developing vaccines. CEPI has moved quickly and urgently to coordinate with global health authorities and vaccine-development partners. CEPI is pleased to be partnering with Novavax to rapidly develop a potential vaccine candidate against the global threat posed by COVID-19.”

Of late, the company has inked a deal with Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. (Emergent) to offer manufacturing services and contract development. Under the agreement, Novavax will be provided with a drug candidate for a preclinical trial and utilization in Phase 1 clinical testing. Emergent will also use two Baltimore Maryland units of Novavax to produce drug substance at its Bayview unit, which is assigned as a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) by the US Health and Human Services (HHS), and drug product at its Camden manufacturing facility.

The funding news is expected to keep the stock of Novavax bullish in the short-term.

Technically, the stock has bounced off the support at 4.50. The next major resistance is anticipated only near 25. Additionally, the stock is also trading above its 50-day moving average. The Chaikin money flow indicator is also in the positive region. Therefore, we are anticipating the stock to move up in the short-term.

nva - technical analysis - 11th March 2020

Disclaimer: Any financial trading analysis offered here is our opinion and is not intended as advice or direction for investors. We cannot guarantee the success of any trades made as a consequence of this article, and we encourage traders to incorporate a strong money management strategy to limit losses when they enter the markets. Please use this article as part of your own research before formulating strategies prior to trading.

Richard W

Richard W

Richard is the guy who know everything there is about the financial industry, working in a top firm for over 15 years, he will give the lowdown on some of the biggest companies in the world


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