Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) shares fell almost 10% in after-market hours on the heels of the firm’s release of fourth-quarter financials and clinical updates. Though Cantor analyst William Tanner chimes in from the sidelines, he sees key milestones awaiting in the back half of the year that could drive shares in the future.
For now, the analyst reiterates a Neutral rating on NVAX with a price target of $2.00, which represents a just under 23% increase from where the shares last closed.
Tanner believes, “Notwithstanding the failure of the Phase 3 Resolve trial of the company’s RSV vaccine in elderly subjects, the asset remains viable, in our view, and data from an interim look at the ongoing maternal vaccination trial Prepare (possible by YE17) could be a positive catalyst for the stock, in our opinion. Positive data could resurrect the potential to attract a partner that would be useful in commercializing the product and in providing non-dilutive capital.”
Yet, the analyst remains cautious nonetheless, considering, “NVAX has the blueprint, but source of development funding unclear.” Specifically, the analyst points to net debt circling $80 million coupled with vast share dilution as the root of his wariness.
“Be prepared for an important tranche of data from RSV vaccine program by YE17,” continues Tanner, who predicts should the maternal vaccination Phase 3 Prepare study prove positive, the program’s value could become significantly more compelling to shareholders.
A great deal of Tanner’s optimism on the stock boils down to the firm’s Respiratory Syncytial Virus vaccine targeting an older patient population, as he asserts, “We still view elderly RSV opportunity as most-significant value creator.”
Ultimately, “Zika vaccine [remains] the highlight of other programs. Of other pipeline assets, we believe Zika could be of greatest interest given the unmet medical need and the likely durability of the problem (as compared with pandemic diseases),” Tanner contends.
For the fourth quarter, the biotech firm reached $5.4 million in revenue and ($0.21) in EPS, failing to meet the analysts’ expectations of $6.9 million while outclassing consensus of $5.3 million in revenue and performing better than the analyst’s expectations for ($0.22) and consensus of ($0.23) in EPS. General and administration (G&A) expenses were 34% below what the analyst had been anticipating and NVAX management impressed with better 2017 cash-burn guidance ranging $80 to $105 million beneath that of 2016. NVAX closed 2016 with $235 million in cash flow and Tanner projects a 2017 cash burn around $170 million, quite a decrease considering last year’s $271 million.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst William Tanner is ranked #1,309 out of 4,504 analysts. Tanner has a 57% success rate and earns 5.7% in his yearly returns. When recommending NVAX, Tanner garners 73.0% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate NVAX as a Buy. Based on 2 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 1 rates a Buy on Novavax stock while 1 maintains a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $7.00, marking a 329% upside from where the stock is currently trading.