Novavax skyrockets 40% after US government grants $1.6 billion for coronavirus vaccine creation

Novavax Coronavirus VaccineAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

  • Novavax shares spiked as much as 40% on Tuesday after receiving $1.6 billion in coronavirus vaccine funding from the US government.
  • The award is the largest yet from Operation Warp Speed, the White House’s plan to rapidly develop and deliver a viable vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Part of the grant will fund a Phase 3 trial starting in the fall, according to a press release. Novavax also plans to use the award for delivering 100 million vaccine doses by the end of the year.
  • Watch Novavax trade live here.

Novavax stock surged as much as 40% on Tuesday after the US government awarded $1.6 billion to fund the company’s coronavirus vaccine trials and manufacturing.

The grant is the largest yet to be paid out through “Operation Warp Speed,” the Trump administration’s plan to rapidly develop and deliver a coronavirus vaccine. Novavax aims to use some of the funding for a Phase 3 trial beginning in the fall. The award will also aid the firm in delivering 100 million doses by the end of the year, Novavax said in a press release.

“We are grateful to the U.S. government for its confidence in our technology platform, and are working tirelessly to develop and produce a vaccine for this global health crisis,” president and CEO Stanley Erck said.

Read more:JPMORGAN: The coronavirus crisis has decimated one of the safest defenses against stock-market crashes. Here are 4 ways to pivot your portfolio now.

Novavax is among several biotech and pharmaceutical firms racing to introduce the first effective treatment for COVID-19. Moderna, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck are just some of the other companies testing their own compounds. Markets are paying close attention, too. Positive trial news from leading candidates has typically lifted the stock market, while negative headlines drive mass selling.

The Operation Warp Speed award isn’t Novavax’s first from the US government. The Department of Defense granted $60 million to the biotech firm in June to help it produce 10 million doses of its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine in 2020.

Though Novavax is now the biggest beneficiary of the White House’s coronavirus treatment plan, it’s a late entry to the race. The company began human trials in May, well after rival firms started testing. Preliminary trial results are expected by the end of July, according to Tuesday’s release, and Phase 2 trials are slated to begin soon after.

Novavax closed at $79.44 per share on Monday, up 1,887% year-to-date.

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