Shares of Novavax (NVAX -6.42%) were jumping 8.6% higher as of 11:22 a.m. EDT on Monday after rising as much as 12.6% earlier in the day. The nice gain resulted from the company's announcement that it was raising around $200 million in gross proceeds through a private placement deal with RA Capital Management. Novavax will sell Series A Convertible preferred stock that's convertible into nearly 4.4 million shares of common stock to an affiliate of RA Capital.
Novavax's latest capital raise underscores just how attractive the company has become to the investment manager community. CEO Stanley Erck said that the biotech's management team believes the support from RA Capital "signals a high level of confidence in the significant progress of our COVID-19 and influenza vaccine programs." He's right. And it's not just investment managers who are interested in Novavax.
In May, the company picked up the biggest funding to date from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine. CEPI agreed to provide up to $384 million in additional funding on top of an initial $4 million investment. Earlier this month, Novavax won a $60 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to deliver 10 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, NVX‑CoV2373.
While there's a high level of interest in Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine program, the company has another promising candidate with its flu vaccine NanoFlu. Novavax reported positive late-stage results for NanoFlu in March. The $200 million raised through this latest private placement deal will help fund both continued development of NVX‑CoV2373 and the regulatory approval process for NanoFlu.
There are two different fronts for investors to watch with Novavax now, both of which could serve as major catalysts for the biotech stock. Novavax expects to report preliminary results in July from its phase 1 clinical study evaluating the COVID-19 vaccine candidate. It's also moving toward filing for U.S. regulatory approval of NanoFlu.