Novavax stock was up more than 16% 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 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.
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.
Shares of Novavax have surged nearly 700% since early May amid expectations that it will successfully develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine.