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Novavax Analyst Sees Leading Contender In Coronavirus Vaccine Race

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Novavax Analyst Sees Leading Contender In Coronavirus Vaccine Race

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), which last month landed CEPI funding for its coronavirus vaccine program, announced Tuesday the  initiation of human studies of its vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

The Novavax Analysts

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Charles Duncan maintained an Overweight rating on Novavax with a $45 price target. 

B Riley FBR Mayank Mamtani reiterated a Buy rating and $53 price target.

NanoFlu Efficacy Data Has Positive Readthrough For Coronavirus Vaccine, Cantor Says

Despite nine other vaccines in clinical trials and 114 more in preclinical development, the efficacy component of the clinical profile of NanoFlu combined with safety enhances the conviction for 2373 and the platform more broadly, Cantor analyst Duncan said in a Tuesday note.

The NanoFlu efficacy data has increased the probability of success of the coronavirus vaccine program, which likely influenced the CEPI funding, the analyst said. 

"Though not without clinical and commercial risk, we see potential value creation with the COVID-19 program as the CEPI funding to support vaccine development efforts represents asymmetric risk/reward with no additional burn burden for shareholders."

See also: The Week Ahead In Biotech: ASCO Presentations In The Spotlight

Novavax Has Become A Frontrunner, B Riley FBR Says

Novavax has rapidly advanced 2373 to become one of the leading vaccine candidates in clinical testing globally, B Riley FBR's Mamtani said in a note. 

The analyst expects external development, including vaccine program updates from rival companies, to cause continued volatility. This could also be a potential driver to a roughly 25% retracement from the May 15 high, which in turn presents an additional opportunity to accumulate shares ahead of the 2373 preliminary Phase 1 immunogenicity and safety data in July.

In the interim, Mamtani said he expects Novavax to disclose incremental preclinical data from testing in enhanced disease models.

The Phase 1/2 trial consists of two phases.

A randomized, observer-blinded and placebo-controlled Phase 1 trial in which 130 healthy volunteers ages 18-59 are to be enrolled to evaluate 5-microgram and 25-microgram dose levels with or without the Matrix-M adjuvant in Australia.

A Phase 2 portion is to be conducted in multiple countries.

Scalability and safety could emerge as the core competitive advantage, according to B Riley FBR.

The high-dose cohorts in the Phase 1 trials of CanSino's Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna Inc's (NASDAQ: MRNA) mRNA-1273 posed safety considerations for the two companies to prioritize relatively lower doses in subsequent stages of clinical testing, Mamtani said. 

NVAX Price Action

At last check, Novavax shares were advancing 3.93% to $47.92. 

Related Link: Generic Threat To Amarin's Vascepa Overrides Positive Sentiment On Coronavirus Announcement

Latest Ratings for NVAX

DateFirmActionFromTo
Jul 2020Ladenburg ThalmannDowngradesBuyNeutral
Jun 2020B. Riley FBRMaintainsBuy
Jun 2020HC Wainwright & Co.MaintainsBuy

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