Novavax Leaps on Vaccine Trials

Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) said on Monday it has started the Phase 1 clinical trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate and has enrolled the trial’s first participants, with preliminary results slated for July.

The Maryland-based late-stage biotechnology company in April said it identified the candidate, NVX-CoV2373, with which it planned to use its Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance immune responses.

Adjuvants are mainly used to make vaccines induce a strong immune response, including through the greater production of antibodies, and provide longer-lasting protection against viral and bacterial infection.

Novavax said it expects preliminary immunogenicity and safety results from the trial in July.

The announcement comes as drugmakers pause clinical trials for other ailments and race to find an antidote for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus which has infected more than 5.3 million people worldwide and killed over 343,000.

Novavax said, upon successful completion of Phase 1, the Phase 2 portion of the trial will be conducted in several countries, including the United States.

CEO Stanley Erck, "Administering our vaccine in the first participants of this clinical trial is a significant achievement, bringing us one step closer toward addressing the fundamental need for a vaccine in the fight against the global COVID 19 pandemic.

"We look forward to sharing the clinical results in July and, if promising, quickly initiating the Phase 2 portion of the trial."

Novavax went on to say the Phase 2 trial will assess immunity, safety and COVID-19 disease reduction in a broader age range.

NVAX shares popped $6.58, or 14.3%, to $52.69.