COVID-19 has boosted the fortunes of several previously unknown biotechs. Case in point: Since the turn of the year Vaxart (VXRT) stock has shot up by a sky scraping 680%, on the back of its possible COVID-19 vaccine.
The surge has continued this week following an announcement that Vaxart’s oral COVID-19 vaccine program exhibited promising preclinical data. Specifically, the company reported that a number of its vaccine candidates resulted in immune responses in 100% of tested animals following a single dose. Furthermore, two weeks after the first vaccination, data indicated that all animals given one of the vaccines had IgG anti-SARS CoV-2 antibodies. In comparison to untreated controls, the antibody responses were statistically significant in all vaccinated groups.
Vaxart began preclinical studies for a COVID-19 vaccine in January, basing the program on its VAAST oral vaccines platform. The latest results compare well with the company’s oral influenza vaccine.
The announcement follows another positive recent development. In March, Vaxart signed a development agreement with Emergent BioSolutions. Emergent is expected to manufacture Vaxart’s vaccine candidate, in preparation for a Phase 1 clinical study, anticipated to go ahead in 2H20.
H.C. Wainwright’s Vernon Bernardino believes that despite the early stage of development, the results indicate noteworthy progress in identifying a lead candidate for a clinical trial.
Additionally, the 5-star analyst said, “In our view, the positive results were no surprise, given the favorable clinical profile observed in the company’s oral influenza vaccine candidate. We believe these preclinical results are in line with those for Vaxart’s oral influenza vaccine, which was protective in a clinical Phase 2 efficacy study… We believe the mucosal and systemic immunity observed, coupled with its oral, room temperature-stable tablet form, could offer logistical advantages over injectables during pandemic vaccination campaigns.”
Bernardino reiterated a Buy on Vaxart along with a $3 price target, which is right in line with where shares are currently trading after this week’s double-digit jump. (To watch Bernardino’s track record, click here)
Over the last 3 months, no other analysts have published a review regarding Vaxart’s prospects. Based on Bernardino’s assessment, Vaxart has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. (See Vaxart stock analysis on TipRanks)