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Novavax Rises on Plan to Supply 1.1 Billion COVID Vaccine Doses to Poor Countries

Novavax stock advanced on plans to provide 1.1 billion does of its COVID vaccine candidate to Gavi, an international organization that provides vaccines in developing nations.

Shares of Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report rose over 5% early Friday after the biotech firm said it will supply 1.1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to Gavi, an international organization that provides vaccines in poorer countries. 

Shares of the Gaithersburg, Md. company were rising 5.4% to $279.62 at last check.

Novavax said Thursday after the market close that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Gavi to provide 1.1 billion doses of NVX-CoV2373, Novavax’s recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, for Covax. Covax is the larger global organization funded largely by Western governments and charities to provide vaccines to developing countries. 

Covax plans to provide free shots to at least 20% of the populations of 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. 

The vaccine doses will be manufactured and distributed globally by Novavax and Serum Institute of India.

“We are proud to partner with all the Covax collaborators and Serum Institute of India to provide global public health leadership and ensure that all countries have broad access to NVX-CoV2373,” said Stanley C. Erck, president and chief executive at Novavax, in a statement.

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“Novavax will play a critical role in the worldwide effort to provide access to safe and effective vaccines to end the pandemic," he added.

Novavax's vaccine has shown 89.3% efficacy against the disease, including the U.K. variant, the company said last month. It was less effective against an emerging South African variant, however.

The company has started the process of seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for emergency use authorization of the vaccine in the U.S. and several other countries.

Other companies planning to contribute vaccine doses to Covax include Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“This agreement brings the Covax Facility one step closer to its goal of supplying vaccines globally and ending the acute phase of the pandemic,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, in a statement.

“It helps us close in on our goal of delivering two billion doses in 2021 and increases the range of vaccines available to us as we build a portfolio suitable for all settings and contexts," Berkley added.