In January last year, employees of Novavax Inc. met at a local bar in Maryland to discuss how to save their careers. For decades, this small biotech company has tried to develop an approved vaccine, but without success. The company has enough cash to survive for only about six months, its stock trading price is less than $4, and its market value is $127 million.
Today, Novavax is moving towards the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine. Scientists believe that if it is cleared, it may be one of the more powerful weapons against the pandemic, with a key advantage over competitors. Some early data indicate that Novavax injection may be the first to show the spread of asymptomatic coronavirus, and may also provide longer-lasting protection.
If the vaccine is approved, Novavax will still face the challenge of mass production and distribution. The company sold some manufacturing assets in 201
Investors who left the 33-year-old company last year were killed as a result, and investors bet that regulators will approve Novavax’s vaccine in the next few months. They have sent shares worth up to $229 on the Nasdaq market, which is up 106% so far this year. In late last month, Novavax released preliminary data showing that its injection can effectively defend against Covid-19, although the resistance to the new strains identified in South Africa is also weak, which seems to pose a challenge to other injections. The results of late-stage trials of the vaccine in the United States may be announced later in the next month.
Novavax’s current market value is $15.4 billion, surpassing the market value of companies with billions of dollars in annual sales, including generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd..