The vaccine news just does not stop coming. Underdog player Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) is having an incredible day — VXRT stock is up almost 50%. Why? The vaccine specialist just received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to launch Phase 1 human trials of its novel coronavirus vaccine.
According to a company press release, the FDA finished reviewing the Investigational New Drug (IND) application from Vaxart. With this review complete, Vaxart can now move forward with its human trials. Investors are bidding up VXRT stock on the news.
But why does this matter? Just today, we have heard good news from the likes of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). Those companies are much larger, and much farther ahead in their vaccine research.
There are many reasons why investors are so bullish on VXRT stock. The first is that the company is a much purer play on the coronavirus vaccine race. AstraZeneca and Pfizer are giant companies with all sorts of other treatments. One vaccine, no matter how successful, is not going to change the game. Investors would likely still boost their share prices, but Vaxart is another story. As we have previously reported, Vaxart is a clinical-stage company focusing on vaccines for the influenza and norovirus.
As the company preps to enroll participants for its Phase 1 trials and release data from its animal studies, investors will pay close attention. Any favorable results on its safety or immunogenicity — its ability to trigger an immune response — could lead to a similar rally.
The other big reason Vaxart is popping higher is that its vaccine candidate is so innovative.
Oral Vaccine Candidate Boosts VXRT Stock
Vaxart may be a vaccine company, but its candidate is not designed to be a shot. Instead, Vaxart specializes in so-called oral vaccines. The company believes this type of vaccine is preferable because it is less invasive and is potentially able to trigger a more powerful sterilizing response. Beyond actually manufacturing such oral tablet vaccines, Vaxart also has developed a vaccine delivery platform, which can help transform existing injectable vaccines into tablets.
There is one other big reason this matters. Several leading vaccine candidates come with logistical hurdles — specific shipping temperatures, storage requirements, you name it. Pills are pills. As Vaxart makes clear in its press release, one of the biggest benefits of its oral vaccine is that it can be stored and shipped as is, without refrigeration.
Although Vaxart now must race to catch up with some of its rivals, it is clear investors have not given up on VXRT stock. Perhaps its unique method of vaccine delivery will help it stand out as nations around the world think about mass vaccination.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer for InvestorPlace.com.