Novavax shares opened 25% down on Wednesday: what happened?

By: Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh is an active follower of world affairs, technology, an avid reader, and loves to play table tennis in… read more.
on Oct 20, 2021
  • Novavax is still struggling to manufacture its COVID vaccine at scale.
  • The biotech firm is yet to secure EUA for its candidate vaccine.
  • Shares of the company tanked about 25% on Wednesday morning.

Shares of Novavax Inc (NASDAQ: NVAX) opened about 25% down this morning on a report that the biotech firm continues to struggle in manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine at scale.

Novavax is yet to secure emergency use authorisation

Earlier this year, Novavax said its vaccine showed 93% efficacy against the Coronavirus. The strong Phase III results had the U.S. government’s operation Warp Speed pour in over a billion dollars to help Novavax ramp up production of its COVID vaccine.  

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Ever since, however, the U.S. firm has faced multiple manufacturing delays – more alarmingly in terms of making a “pure enough” vaccine that satisfies the quality standards laid out by the U.S. FDA.

Novavax is yet to win emergency use authorisation for its “protein vaccine” due to manufacturing delays. It recently partnered with a Polish biotech firm Mabion SA to produce its candidate Coronavirus vaccine. The four-year deal starts in December 2021.

Impact on the global battle against the pandemic

According to CNBC’s Meg Tirrell, the manufacturing issues are concerning as Novavax’s COVID vaccine is an important piece in the global battle against the pandemic.

They’ve made a lot of promises to the global vaccine effort, and if they can’t get this vaccine manufactured in a pure enough way and in large enough doses, then that’s going to deal a real blow to the global vaccination effort.

The sharp decline in share price today reflected shareholders were deeply disappointed in yet another manufacturing delay. The stock is now down more than 60% from its year-to-date high in early February.

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