Shares of Novavax (NVAX) gained 2.3% on Friday after the company announced that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, showed a strong immune response and protection against the Beta variant originally identified in South Africa, as well as against the original version of the coronavirus and the Alpha variant first found in the UK.
Novavax, Inc., a U.S.-based biotechnology company, develops vaccines to counter seriously infectious diseases. (See NVAX stock analysis on TipRanks)
Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research and Development at Novavax commented, “These data suggest that not only could one booster dose of this variant-directed vaccine potentially provide a robust, protective immune boost after vaccination against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but also the potential to provide broad protection against various virus strains if used as a primary vaccine regimen.”
He further added, “This broad immune coverage is vital to controlling the pandemic as variants of concern continue to emerge worldwide that could jeopardize the protection created through ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts.”
The company said that the vaccine is being tested in multiple trials, including two pivotal Phase 3 trials and two ongoing Phase 2 studies.
Notably, Novavax revealed that testing of blood serum of thirty participants from the Phase 2 clinical trial who had received both doses of NVX-CoV2373 revealed strong antibody responses to the original version of the coronavirus, as well as against both the U.K. and South African variants.
Furthermore, Novavax said that studies in mice and baboons revealed that a different vaccine targeting the South African Beta variant produced immune response and protection. The company expects to conduct further clinical testing of the Beta-focused vaccine in the fall of 2021.
B.Riley Financial analyst Mayank Mamtani recently reiterated a Buy rating and the price target of $286 (36.4% potential upside) on the stock.
Mamtani sees NVAX’s risk/reward favorable based on his views that there is a great possibility of vaccine efficacy and that the “differentiated” safety and tolerability profile of NVX-CoV2373 is not yet fully reflected in the current share price.
Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 4 Buys and 2 Holds. The NVAX average analyst price target of $238.60 implies 13.8% upside potential from current levels.
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