The coronavirus pandemic disrupted many businesses and was a boon to others. One sector that’s been riding high is the pharmaceutical industry. That’s especially true for companies that have brought a Covid-19 vaccine to market. Vaccine developer Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) is a perfect example. NVAX stock rose from relative obscurity with a share price of just below $4 at the start of 2020. Today, the stock trades above $200 a share — a staggering 5,000% increase in less than two years.
While that is an impressive gain, NVAX stock actually sits well below its multiyear high of $331.68, made in February. The recent pullback could represent a great opportunity for investors.
The revenue potential from the company’s Covid-19 vaccine is significant, and I am a bull on NVAX stock long term.
Novavax Making Moves as it Awaits Approval
Still in clinical trials, Novavax has yet to secure regulatory approval for its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine from any governmental agencies. While it has been shown to be 90% effective at preventing severe disease, the company has run into issues showing consistent manufacturing information.
Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine, which works by training the immune system to fight the virus by showing it a spike protein that looks like the virus but isn’t. It has been reported to be less likely to cause side effects than other vaccines.
Novavax has already filed for regulatory approval in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. The company plans to submit its vaccine to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization in the fourth quarter. Management also said they will file in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
The company has delayed plans to submit its vaccine for approval before, so I’m sure some investors are skeptical. But there was a big development in Novavax’s story last week.
Novavax and the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest producer of vaccines, jointly submitted Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) for an emergency use listing (EUL). Receiving this designation from the WHO would allow the company’s vaccine to be distributed by global vaccine sharing initiatives. That would be huge for the company and help it get its vaccine to low- and middle-income countries.
Novavax enjoys an advantage over Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) vaccines, which have already been approved in the United States and elsewhere, in terms of storage requirements. Novavax’s vaccine can be stored at refrigerated temperatures, while the other two require sub-zero temperatures. This should give Novavax a leg up when being considered by governments and health organizations.
Novavax already has an advance purchase agreement for 1.1 billion doses of its vaccine with the COVAX Facility, a global vaccine initiative. The European Union has agreed to purchase up to 200 million doses. And Japan ordered 150 million doses after more than a million doses of Moderna’s vaccine were recalled due to contamination with stainless steel.
These deals represent huge revenue opportunities for the company, and they are likely just the tip of the iceberg.
The Market for Vaccines Remains Huge
While we have managed to slow the spread of the coronavirus through vaccines, we are far from out of the woods. According to COVAX, only 20% of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have gotten their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. And 20% of people in high- and upper-middle-income countries have not been vaccinated.
That’s a huge addressable market for Novavax. And it only grows larger when you factor in the need for booster shots. Both the United States and Israel have recommended booster shots for some populations. Other countries are likely to do the same. And Novavax has said its booster dose demonstrates a “four-fold increase in neutralizing antibody levels versus peak responses after primary vaccination.”
With demand for vaccines remaining high, Novavax is upping its production targets. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to double its potential Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity to 2 billion doses a year.
The Bottom Line on NVAX Stock
Novavax has a number of positive catalysts on the horizon in terms of approvals that could result in significant long-term revenue growth. Risks remain, including further delays in seeking U.S. emergency use authorization and manufacturing issues. But I think the growth potential far outweighs them.
The company is expected to report earnings in early November, and I have a feeling investors will pile in following the announcement. Add NVAX stock to your portfolio today for its big upside potential in the year ahead.
On the date of publication, Vandita Jadeja did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Vandita Jadeja is a CPA and a freelance financial copywriter who loves to read and write about stocks. She believes in buying and holding for long-term gains. Her knowledge of words and numbers helps her write clear stock analysis.