Novavax: Big Market Potential, Meaningful Stock Upside

Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) has come a long way since the beginning of 2020 when NVAX stock was trading just below $4. Today, shares sit 5,690% higher at just over $231. It’s been an incredible run, yet it may be far from over.

A hand holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial and a needle.
Source: Shutterstock

The next few quarters are likely to be exciting for investors as the company prepares to make further inroads in the Covid-19 vaccine market. Novavax is focused on bringing vaccines to low-income countries, and these markets offer huge potential.

To put things into perspective, only 1 in 5 people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have gotten the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX). That compares to 4 in 5 people in high- and upper-middle-income countries.

Let’s take a closer look at how this focus and other factors could translate into sustained upside for NVAX stock.

Positive Catalysts for Novavax on Covid-19 Vaccine Front

On Sept. 23, Novavax and Serum Institute of India filed a submission to the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use listing of Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine. This designation is a prerequisite for exports to many countries participating in the COVAX Facility, “which was established to allocate and distribute vaccines equitably to participating countries and economies.” Novavax already has an advance purchase agreement with the COVAX Facility for 1.1 billion doses of the vaccine.

Given the low vaccination rates in lower-income countries and the fact that Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine has demonstrated a strong overall efficacy of 89.7%, I expect speedy approval from the WHO. Once that happens, NVAX stock is likely to surge higher.

In addition to the purchase agreement from the COVAX Facility, Novavax has an agreement from the European Union for up to 200 million doses of the vaccine, while the government of Japan ordered 150 million doses. These agreements create strong revenue visibility for 2022 and beyond.

Novavax is also preparing for an emergency use authorization submission in the United States. Receiving a EUA designation is another potential catalyst for NVAX stock in the coming months. What’s more, the company has initiated Phase I/II trials for a combination of its Covid-19 and seasonal influenza vaccines.

Finally, countries like the United States and Israel have already announced recommendations for booster shots for some populations. With research pointing to waning immunity, it seems likely other countries will follow suit.

In August, Novavax released data saying its Covid-19 vaccine booster dose demonstrated a four-fold increase in neutralizing antibody levels versus primary vaccination. Recommendations for a third dose of the Novavax vaccine would likely boost orders and cash flow visibility.

Novavax Has Headroom to Deepen Its Vaccine Pipeline

At the end of the second quarter, Novavax reported cash and equivalents of $2.1 billion. I believe this cash buffer will increase in the next few years, allowing the company to deepen its vaccine pipeline.

The company has a seasonal influenza vaccine already in Phase III trials, as well as a vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in infants. Other vaccines in various stages of clinical trials include ones for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola.

While the Covid-19 vaccine is Novavax’s golden goose, the company doesn’t have all its eggs in one basket. The firm’s robust pipeline makes NVAX stock attractive from a long-term perspective.

The Bottom Line on NVAX Stock

In addition to the European Union and Japan, Novavax also has advance purchase agreements with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. The company’s manufacturing capability is, therefore, an important factor.

Novavax expects to ramp up vaccine capacity to 150 million doses per month by the end of the year. Additionally, the company has licensed manufacturing to Serum Institute of India, SK bioscience (Republic of South Korea) and Takeda (Japan). Novavax is well-positioned to fulfill its order backlog in 2022.

Overall, NVAX stock remains attractive. Shares are positioned to trade meaningfully higher as the order backlog is serviced and cash flow swells on new approvals and purchase agreements.

On the date of publication, Faisal Humayun did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Faisal Humayun is a senior research analyst with 12 years of industry experience in the field of credit research, equity research and financial modelling. Faisal has authored over 1,500 stock specific articles with focus on the technology, energy and commodities sector.

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