Shares in Vaxart (VXRT) exploded by 96% in Thursday’s trading, and continued to rally a further 27% after-hours, after the biotech announced a deal for its oral Covid-19 vaccine.
The company revealed that it has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Attwill Medical Solutions Sterilflow, affirming the parties’ intent to establish AMS as a resource for lyophilization development and large-scale manufacturing including tableting and enteric coating for Vaxart’s oral COVID-19 vaccine.
AMS will be assigning dedicated resources and equipment for the scale up and commercial production of the vaccine upon entering a formal agreement, Vaxart said.
“We believe AMS’ experience coupled with its ability to manufacture a billion or more doses per year would be a beneficial addition to our group of CDMO partners and enable the large scale manufacturing and ultimate supply of our COVID-19 vaccine for the US, Europe and other countries in need,” said Andrei Floroiu, CEO of Vaxart Inc.
He continued: “We believe our oral vaccines, generated on our proven platform, have the potential to offer superior protection against airborne viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 by triggering both mucosal and systemic immunity while being administered by a room temperature-stable tablet, an enormous logistical advantage in large vaccination campaigns.”
Indeed, Vaxart believes that a room temperature stable tablet vaccine is easier to distribute, store and administer than injectable vaccines and may provide significantly faster response to a pandemic than injectable vaccines, enabling a greater portion of the population to be protected.
Its development programs include oral tablet vaccines that are designed to protect against coronavirus, norovirus, seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as a therapeutic vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).
HC Wainwright analyst Vernon Bernardino has a buy rating and $7 price target on Vaxart for this very reason. He believes an oral route vaccine is a unique and underappreciated differentiator, saying “While we acknowledge Vaxart’s CoV vaccine development program is early-stage, we believe an oral table CoV vaccine could have substantial targeting and delivery advantages.”
The analyst is now looking out for for initiation of Vaxart’s first Phase 1 study with an oral CoV vaccine candidate, which he believes will be a positive catalyst in 2H20- especially as pre-clinical results were very encouraging. Overall the stock has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus. (See VXRT stock analysis on TipRanks).
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