What happened

Shares of Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) were soaring 12.1% higher as of 11:14 a.m. EDT on Monday. The biotech didn't announce any new developments today or over the weekend. However, the most likely reason behind the stock's surge is the news that's on the way: Novavax will provide its first-quarter update after the market closes today.

So what

To be sure, investors probably aren't champing at the bit to find out Novavax's first-quarter financial results. The company doesn't have any products on the market yet, so its financials usually aren't all that meaningful -- other than its cash position. However, there are two things that investors are almost certainly eager to learn about in Novavax's Q1 conference call this evening.

Healthcare professional holding a syringe with a vaccine bottle

Image source: Getty Images.

The biotech reported great results in March from its late-stage clinical study of experimental flu vaccine NanoFlu. Novavax's management team is likely to discuss plans for filing for regulatory approval of the vaccine on the conference call. Investors will be very interested to hear the timeline for this filing and a potential launch for NanoFlu if it wins FDA approval.

The other item of high interest for Novavax is its COVID-19 vaccine program. In April, the company announced that it planned to begin a phase 1 study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine NVX-CoV2373 in mid-May. Look for Novavax to spend plenty of time talking about this study in the conference call later today.

Now what

What happens next for Novavax depends in large part on what the company says about the next steps for NanoFlu and NVX-CoV2373. That's why today's Q1 update is so important. The biotech stock has skyrocketed more than 400% so far this year. Good news in the Q1 conference call could send Novavax's shares even higher.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.