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Novavax Shares Jump After Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Update

Novavax, one of several drugmakers conducting late-stage trials of a coronavirus vaccine candidate, has boosted the size of its study and hopes to have interim data on its efficacy in the first quarter of next year.

Novavax Inc.  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report shares jumped higher Tuesday after the drugmaker expanded the size of its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial and said preliminary data could some in the first quarter of next year.

Novavax said the trial now has around 5,,500 enrolled volunteers between the ages of 18 and 84 -- with least a quarter of them over the age of 65 -- as it tests the effectiveness and immunogenicity of its NVX-CoV2373 coronavirus vaccine candidate. 

It's also expanded the trial size by 5,000 to 15,000 participants and expects it to be fully-enrolled by the end of next month. Interim data, Novavax said, is expected "as soon as early first quarter 2021." 

"We are pleased with the significant progress made in our Phase 3 clinical trial since it began in the United Kingdom at the end of September," said Novavax's head of R&D, Gregory M. Glenn. "We are grateful for the support of the U.K. Government's Vaccines Taskforce (VTF) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for our pivotal trial."

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"Recognizing the recent, large increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.K., as well as the rapid progress in participant enrollment for our trial, in consultation with the VTF and NIHR, we adjusted our plans and increased enrollment," he added.

Novavax shares were marked 6% higher in early trading Friday to change hands at $92.62 each, a move that would extend the stock's six-month gain to around 340%.

Last month, Novavax 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.