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Why Novavax Shares Down, Despite Positive Results from Flu/COVID-19 Vaccine Testing

Novavax, Inc. (NVAX) announced positive results from the animal study of its combo vaccine for influenza and COVID-19. The positive news however did little to stem the sell-off in shares that began in late April.

05/10/2021 12:44

Novavax, Inc. (NVAX) announced positive results from the animal study of its combo vaccine for influenza and COVID-19.

The positive news however did little to stem the sell-off in shares that began in late April.

What Happened: Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax said data from a preclinical study of the combination of its quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine, NanoFlu, and COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, showed the combo vaccine produced positive immune responses to both influenza and SARS-CoV-2.

The combined formulation induced functional influenza and COVID antibodies in ferrets, the company said.

Hamsters receiving the combo vaccine had elevated levels of SARS-CoV-2 anti-S IgG two weeks after the first immunization, which increased significantly after a second dose, with levels comparable to animals that received the NVX-CoV2373 vaccine alone. The immune responses to influenza A and B strains were comparable to immunization with NanoFlu alone.

It also induced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing epitopes, including at hidden or cryptic sites, that are common between the wild strain found commonly in the U.S. and the B.1.351 variant, aka South African strain.

When challenged with SARS-CoV-2, animals vaccinated with the combo vaccine retained their body weight. Little or no virus load was found in the upper and lower respiratory tracts four days after COVID-19 infection in animals immunized with the combo vaccine.

Related Link: The Week Ahead In Biotech (May 9-15): Heron, Apellis FDA Decisions, Presentations and Earnings

Why It's Important: One of the key differentiators for Novavax from the rest of the COVID-19 vaccine companies is the combo vaccine.

"Seasonal influenza and COVID-19 combination vaccines will likely be critical to combating emerging COVID-19 variants," said Russell Wilson, EVP and NanoFlu General Manager, Novavax.

At last check Monday morning, Novavax shares were sliding 5.63% to $166.09. The stock has been declining in recent sessions amid worries over a delay in the results of the late-stage U.S. study of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate and the U.S. government's decision to support off-patenting of vaccine technology and intellectual property.

Related Link: Attention Biotech Investors: Mark Your Calendar For May PDUFA Dates

(Photo: This is Engineering via Unsplash)