Shares of biotechnology company Novavax (NVAX) - Get Report surged on Wednesday after the company said its trial vaccine to prevent Covid-19 generated a promising immune response in an early stage clinical trial.
Novavax stock was up more than 17% in trading on Wednesday after the Gaithursburg, Maryland-based company revealed that a phase one trial of its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe are necessary to build immunity to the novel coronavirus virus.
“The Phase 1 data demonstrate that NVX-CoV2373 with our Matrix-M adjuvant is a well‑tolerated COVID-19 vaccine with a robust immunogenicity profile,” Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax, said in a statement Tuesday released after the market close.
The study included 131 participants between the ages 18 and 59 at two sites in Australia. Novavax said 106 participants received one of four dose levels of its vaccine along with an adjuvant designed to boost the immune system’s response. The remaining 25 patients received a placebo.
Participants received two doses of the potential vaccine via intramuscular injection approximately 21 days apart, the company said.
Novavax is among numerous companies racing to develop a vaccine to fight the virus, which to date has infected more than 18 million people worldwide and killed at least 694,715 as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
It also follows by a week news that Novavax has been awarded $1.6 billion as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative to complete later-stage clinical development of its vaccine candidate as well as kick off large-scale manufacturing and delivery of the drug by 2021.
Other drug giants including Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report and Moderna (MRNA) - Get Report have also announced late-stage trials for potential coronavirus vaccines. Those trials will include about 30,000 participants.
Novavax shares took off in May as after the company announced $388 million in funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to help scale up development of its vaccine candidate and “dramatically increase its large-scale manufacturing capacity.”
Novavax stock was up 17.48% at $184.64 in trading on Wednesday. The shares have surged nearly 700% since early May.