Novavax Leaps After Launching Final COVID-19 Vaccine Trials - TheStreet

Novavax Shares Gain After Launching Final Phase Coronavirus Vaccine Trials

Novavax, one of a handful of drugmakers chasing the first effective coronavirus vaccine, will test 10,000 volunteers in the United Kingdom with its developing NVX=CoV2373 candidate over the next four to six weeks.

Novavax Inc.  (NVAX) - Get Report shares jumped higher Friday after the drugmaker kicked-off the final phase of its developing coronavirus vaccine trails in the United Kingdom.

Novavax said the trial will enroll around 10,0000 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 84  -- with least a quarter of them over the age of 65 -- over the next four to six week in order to test the effectiveness and immunogenicity of its NVX-CoV2373 coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Novavax also said it was scaling-up its production capacity, with the aim of producing around 2 billion doses each year should the current vaccine candidate meet regulatory approval.

“With a high level of SARS-CoV-2 transmission observed and expected to continue in the UK, we are optimistic that this pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial will enroll quickly and provide a near-term view of NVX-CoV2373’s efficacy,” said Novavax's R&D president Gregory Glenn. “The data from this trial is expected to support regulatory submissions for licensure in the UK, EU and other countries. We are grateful for the support of the UK Government, including from its Department of Health and Social Care and National Institute for Health Research, to advance this important research.”

Novavax shares were marked 11.1% higher in early trading Friday to change hands at $113.90 each, a move that would extend the stock's three-month gain to around 27.1%.

Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Report launched the final round of its own vaccine trial, announcing that the single-shot dose, which will be tested on 60,000 trial participants, followed positive data from a phase 2 trial , which demonstrated that the "safety profile and immunogenicity after a single vaccination were supportive of further development."

The World Health Organization says that around 150 potential vaccines are currently under some form of study, with 34 active human trials taking place from Russian to Bahrain.

Several U.S. firms are also in the hunt, including Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report, Novavax and Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report, which said earlier this month that it's eyeing regulatory approval for it mRNA-based vaccine as early as October.

Eli Lilly & Co  (LLY) - Get Report , meanwhile, reached an agreement with Amgen  (AMGN) - Get Report last week to manufacture its potential coronavirus antibody treatment as global cases look set to pass the 30 million mark.

Eli Lilly said it's studying several neutralizing antibodes for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, either in combination with other drugs or as a so-called monotherapy, adding that its collaboration with Amgen would "significantly increase the supply capacity" of any potential treatment breakthrough.