MLV Defends Novavax, Inc. Following Fast Track Designation for AstraZeneca’s MEDI8897

MLV analyst Vernon Bernardino came out today with a favorable report on Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX), as Fast Track designation was given by the FDA to MEDI-8897, a monoclonal antibody (MAb) from competitor AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) in development to prevent respiratory illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Bernardino commented: “We believe Novavax Inc. is the leader in RSV therapies: MEDI-8897 has only advanced into Ph 2 study vs. near Ph 2 completion with NVAX’s RSV vaccine. In addition, while MEDI-8897 demonstrates broad-spectrum antiviral activity, we are dubious of its market potential, as its target site is not conserved. Therefore, MEDI-8897 has significant potential to become ineffective upon the rise of resistant mutant RSV strains.”

Furthermore, “We believe NVAX’s approach is superior, as it induces functional immunity against mutant and non-mutant RSV virus, differentiating it and supporting our view that Novavax’s vaccine can realize an est. $2BN in revenues. Finally, we note while NVAX is up 37% YTD vs. up 16% for the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index (NBI), we believe the market potential of NVAX’s RSV vaccine continues to be undervalued.”

The analyst reiterated a Buy rating on NVAX with a $14 price target, which implies an upside of 71% from current levels.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Vernon Bernardino has a total average return of -10.5% and a 30.0% success rate. Bernardino has a average return when recommending NVAX, and is ranked #3497 out of 3571 analysts.

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