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Novavax Stocks Active After Positive Data From Covid Vaccine Trial, Omicron Efficacy

Early data from a late-stage trial of its developing vaccine candidate showed promise against both existing strains and the new Omicron variant, Novavax said late Wednesday.

Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report shares slumped lower Thursday after the drugmaker published promising data suggesting its coronavirus vaccine generates a solid immune response against the Omicron variant.

Novavax said a third dose of its vaccine, known as NVX-CoV2373 and which was recently approved in Europe, ignites an improved response in data from a Phase 4 trial, adding that it's developing an Omicron-specific dose that it hopes to begin manufacturing next month.

A two-dose regimen of the vaccine, Novavax said, demonstrated "cross-reactive immune responses against Omicron and other variants", while a booster dose added even more potency against Covid strains. 

The drugmaker said in October that the trial had 5,500 enrolled volunteers between the ages of 18 and 84 -- with least a quarter of them over the age of 65 -- with the cohort ultimately expanding to just over 14,000.

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"In the midst of an evolving pandemic, NVX-CoV2373 showed strong immune responses against Omicron and other circulating variants. We are encouraged that boosted responses against all variants were comparable to those associated with high vaccine efficacy in our Phase 3 clinical trials,” said Novavax's head of research and development Gregory Glenn.

"Given the continued evolution of the coronavirus, the development of an Omicron vaccine could be necessary," he added. "Novavax has cloned, expressed and characterized the Omicron spike protein vaccine and will soon enter the GMP-phase of production. We expect to begin clinical studies in the first quarter of 2022."  

Novavax shares, which had solid pre-market gains, were marked 4% lower in early trading to change hands at $175.500 each.