Novavax Shares Cross $100 Threshold On $1.6B Federal Funding Award For Coronavirus Vaccine

Novavax, Inc. NVAX shares, which were up about 1,900% year-to-date, are seeing further strength after the company's coronavirus vaccine program was shortlisted by the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed and awarded $1.6 billion in federal funding.

Novavax Joins Federal Effort: After initially being snubbed by Operation Warp Speed, which had previously shortlisted five other vaccine candidates, Novavax is joining the federal government list.

Operation Warp Speed is a government program that was formulated with the objective of supporting the delivery of millions of doses of effective vaccines to protect against SARS-CoV-2 in 2021.

Novavax is developing a vaccine dubbed NVX-CoV2373 using its recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike protein.

It also contains the company's patented saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

"We are grateful to the U.S. government for its confidence in our technology platform, and are working tirelessly to develop and produce a vaccine for this global health crisis," CEO Stanley Erck said in a statement. 

Novavax Lands $1.6B Funding Deal: As part of the shortlist inclusion, Novavax has been awarded a $1.6 billion in federal funding with a trio of objectives, the company said.

The funding agreement necessitates the company completing late-stage clinical development, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial; establishing large-scale manufacturing; and delivering 100 million doses of NVX CoV2373 as early as late 2020.

A Phase 1/2 clinical trial of NVX-CoV2373 in 130 healthy participants ages 18-59 is underway in Australia, with preliminary Phase 1 immunogenicity and safety results expected at the end of July.

The Phase 2 portion to assess immunity, safety and COVID-19 disease reduction is then expected to launch. 

The Phase 1/2 trial was supported by up to $388 million in funding by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

A pivotal Phase 3 study with up to 30,000 subjects is expected to begin in the fall of 2020.

Novavax shares were spiking 29.03% to $102.50 premarket Tuesday.

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