Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) said Tuesday afternoon it has initiated development of a vaccine candidate for the Wuhan-version of the coronavirus that has spread from China to other Asian nations and on Tuesday was confirmed to have infected at least one person in the United States.
Novavax shares surged about 60% on Tuesday following reports of the coronavirus outbreak. The company said it has extensive history working with coronaviruses and developing vaccine candidates, including its work on the MERS and SARS coronaviruses.
"Using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle vaccine technology, the company expects to develop a vaccine candidate from the genetic sequence of the Wuhan coronavirus," the company said in a statement.
Novavax would also utilize its proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant to potentially provide additional immune response.
What We Know About The Coronavirus Outbreak
The newly-identified coronarvirus emerged in a seafood and poultry market in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has infected more than 300 people, including six who have died, Chinese officials said. The virus has already spread to Beijing and Shanghai, as well as a other Asian nations, including Japan and South Korea.
U.S. health officials confirmed that a man in Washington State who had recently been in the Wuhan area has the virus and is very sick.
Shares of Novavax were up 58.99% on Tuesday afternoon, trading at $9.13.