Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) still remains poised to sell its vaccine for the coronavirus to many countries around the world, likely enabling it to generate very strong revenue in 2022 and possibly into 2023. Yet NVAX stock has fallen sharply in recent days.
That makes the shares very attractive for medium-term investors. Shares tumbled 25% in December alone.
On the positive side for Novavax and NVAX stock, on Dec. 20, a European Medicines Agency (EMA) panel recommended that Novavax be able to market its vaccine for the coronavirus to adults in the EU.
As a result of this news, the EMA, the EU’s version of the Food and Drug Administration, is very likely to approve Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine for adults. And since the EU has agreed to purchase up to 200 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine, the approval is likely to lead to significant revenue for the company. And those sales, in turn, will probably lift NVAX stock in the medium term.
What’s more, after the EMA’s approval, I think that the FDA is much more likely than not to approve Novavax’s vaccine for three reasons. First, the EMA’s approval does indicate that the vaccine is safe and effective against the coronavirus.
Secondly, after the U.S. effectively discouraged the use of Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) vaccine because of a side effect, I believe that Washington will want to have a shot that can appeal to those Americans who are nervous about the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA). It is, after all, true that the mRNA shots are based on relatively new technology and that Novavax’s vaccine is based on older, more conventional methods.
“The Novavax vaccine has no genetic material, only proteins,” Dr. Diana Florescu, who oversaw the Phase 3 trial of the shot, said in June, according to Nebraska Medicine. “The vaccine technology is more traditional, and it’s very similar to a protein-based influenza vaccine.”
Moreover, the U.S. has funded Novavax in the past and has agreed to purchase 100 million doses from it.
On a separate note, the World Health Organization approved Novavax’s shot on Dec. 17, opening the door for many more developing nations to purchase the vaccine.
The Mildness of Omicron Will Likely Reduce Demand for Novavax’s Jab
On the other hand, the relative mildness of the Omicron variation of Covid-19 is likely to, over the longer run, significantly lower the demand for Novavax’s shot. As evidence of that mildness, consider that a U.K.-based study recently found that those “with the omicron variant are 70% less likely to be hospitalized than those infected with the delta variant, Seeking Alpha reported.
The relative mildness could very well lower demand for Novavax’s vaccine in many countries. Still, I think there will still be meaningful demand in many nations. After all, many individuals, particularly those who are older and/or have more vulnerable immune systems, get flu shots every year.
And among most people, the fear of the coronavirus will likely always be stronger than the fear of the flu, even if there is little or no difference in their risk from the two illnesses. Consequently, I think that there will still be some demand for Novavax’s vaccine, especially in the medium-term, even if omicron proves to be little more risky than the flu for many people.
The Bottom Line on NVAX Stock
In my opinion, many investors think that Novavax may not get FDA approval for its shot and/or could have difficulties manufacturing and distributing its vaccine.
But after the EMA approved the shot, I think there’s an 80% chance that the FDA will also give it a thumbs up. And as I pointed out in my previous column, the drug maker is partnering with the Serum Institute of India on the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine. I believe that the odds are good that Novavax will find multiple other manufacturing and distribution partners.
So although the long-term performance of NVAX could be hindered by lower-than-expected demand for its shot, I continue to believe that the shares’ medium-term outlook is favorable, given the partnerships and approvals that the firm likely to obtain during that period.
As a result, I urge medium-term, risk-tolerant investors to buy a relatively small amount of the shares on their current weakness.
On the date of publication, Larry Ramer held a long position in NVAX. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 14 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been GE, solar stocks, and Snap. You can reach him on StockTwits at @larryramer.