A possible vaccine is nearing. Progress has been made. A bet on Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) at this stage is a bet that the leaders falter. Or at least it is a bet that the current Phase 3 trial candidates and limited use vaccines aren’t sufficient.
However, there is a possibility that this pandemic could be nearing a conclusion. The exact timeline on such a possibility is unclear, but everyone might find some solace in the possibility.
At this point investors should consider where current Covid-19 vaccine leaders are relative to where Novavax is. Recent news from the company warrants consideration for investors as well.
Novavax Doubles Capacity
Novavax’s recent manufacturing agreement with the Serum Institute of India just doubled its prior vaccine manufacturing capacity. The Serum Institute of India will manufacture 1 billion doses of NVX-CoV2373 next year. The agreement represents a doubling of Novavax’s capacity from 1 billion to 2 billion doses.
Investors must also consider the timeline regarding this news. The company will only have the capacity to produce the full 2 billion does by mid-2021. Nevertheless, it does seem that markets responded as share prices did rise modestly on the news.
Perhaps the more relevant news from the press release was in relation to Phase 3 trials of NVX-CoV2373. Novavax stated that it plans to initiate Phase 3 trials in the coming weeks around the world. Yet, vaccine manufacturers further along in the development process are also signaling positive news. This leaves potential investors wondering if NVAX is dead in the water.
Clinical Progress So Far
According to Novavax’s website, Phase 1 consisted of 130 participants and it looks like 1,631 participants are currently in the Phase 2 study. Importantly, Novavax states that “a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects beginning in the fall of 2020.” The size isn’t particularly important other than from the point of view that it meets scientific standards. But this is pivotal as it will make or break Novavax’s vaccine hopes.
Competitor Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) began its Phase 3 trials at the end of July. Efficacy studies are slated to emerge from those trials in coming weeks. Thus, Novavax likely has a similar period of two months minimum before efficacy regarding NVX-CoV2373 can be assessed.
When Moderna began its Phase 3 trials at the end of July, NIH Director Francis Collins stated that a goal of having a vaccine by year’s end was a stretch. However, he reiterated that it was the collective goal. So, by the same calculus, Novavax’s potential vaccine could be out perhaps in February of 2021. This assumes that Novavax’s timeline is similar to Moderna’s. This vaccine race is fraught with conjecture.
Moderna, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will all soon be releasing efficacy studies regarding Phase 3 trials, again in the coming weeks. And Novavax is scheduled to soon begin Phase 3 trials along with Inovio (NASDAQ:INO).
Buy, Sell, or Hold NVAX Stock?
Novavax still has a horse in this race. However, its volatility will continue. That Novavax will initiate Phase 3 trials soon is a catalyst for some investors. It will certainly entice some to pull the trigger. Shares also dipped recently, which helps.
The next few months while it undertakes Phase 3 trials are going to see a lot of movement. Traders are going to have a lot of opportunities, but it could be the time for longer term investors to speculate. Prices are near $100 now.
Further good news as Phase 3 ramps up can easily make money at current prices. I see no imminent signs that NVAX shares are a sell. If you’ve already made a killing on it, maybe book some profits just to relax. But this stock still has months before we know anything conclusively.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.