Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) stock is one of the hottest names on Wall Street this year, thanks to its efforts to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. NVAX stock is up over a whopping 2,600% so far this year. And that’s after a big pullback in August. At its peak, Novavax was up nearly 4,400%.
But that seems like ancient history after Covid-19 swept around the world. More than 38.7 million are infected globally, including nearly 8 million in the U.S.
So far, 1.09 million people have died from the virus, including more than 217,000 in the U.S. Health experts warn that the fall and winter could be a difficult time in the U.S. for infections.
Sure enough, the number of cases in the U.S. and around the world are beginning to rise once again.
Health experts are also predicting what’s being called a potentially “horrific flu season” during the pandemic.
A New Team
With that on the table, Novavax is getting some extra positive attention these days. Its executives made a couple of big announcements on Oct. 13.
The Maryland-based company said that it appointed a team to seek global licenses for its NanoFlu treatment. The team will also seek approval of a combined Covid-19/influenza vaccine that could be used after the pandemic is over.
Spearheading the effort for Novavax is Russell “Rip” Wilson, who was promoted to executive vice president and NanoFlu general manager.
Currently available flu vaccines provide inconsistent, inadequate protection against seasonal influenza. “NanoFlu has already completed its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial, in which it achieved all of its primary endpoints, so I am excited about the potential to provide this important vaccine option to the patients who need it most, the difficult-to-protect older adult population. I am committed to leading our team to licensure with a strong sense of urgency.
NVAX Stock and the Coronavirus
We forget, perhaps, in the days of Operation Warp Speed that it usually takes a long time for vaccines to come to market. It’s a process that takes years, although the urgency of the Covid-19 pandemic is causing both scientists and the government to move at an accelerated pace.
It’s no surprise then that Novavax’s influenza vaccine is languishing on the back burner while the focus remains on the coronavirus. But the company is making good strides in that arena, as well.
Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, is currently in Phase 2 trials in Australia, South Africa and the U.S. It’s in a Phase 3 trial in the U.K. and in the U.S.
There are a handful of other companies that are also going through Phase 3 trials. So Novavax doesn’t have a clear lead in the race to get a virus, but it’s not lagging, either.
Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine candidate has a lot of promise. But the thing that really puts NVAX stock over the top is the stunning potential of the NanoFlu vaccine and the possibility of marketing it in the future in conjunction with a coronavirus vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are between 9.3 million and 45 million cases of flu just in the U.S. each year. Last year, the flu was responsible for 405,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 fatalities.
The need for a more effective vaccine is real. Scientists believe that we’ll be dealing with the coronavirus for years. The idea of a vaccine that can be used for both the flu and the coronavirus just makes common sense.
The Bottom Line
NVAX stock is up big these days. You can expect the stock to continue its climb when its NanoFlu vaccine is approved. And you can expect another bump as its Covid-19 vaccine works its way through Phase 3 trials.
A combined vaccine won’t help people this year, but investors can start profiting from the research now. And they can look for bigger profits when the vaccines come to market in 2021.
NVAX stock has an “A” rating and carries a strong buy recommendation in my Portfolio Grader.
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Source: Investor Place