What happened

Shares of Dynavax Technologies (NASDAQ:DVAX) were jumping 11.4% as of 11:13 a.m. EDT on Friday after the company announced that the first participants have been dosed in a phase 1 study evaluating Clover Biopharmaceuticals' COVID-19 vaccine SCB-2019. The vaccine contains Dynavax's CpG 1018 adjuvant to boost immune responses.

So what

Investors continue to be intensely interested in the prospects for COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly any announcement of progress with coronavirus vaccine development is a catalyst for the biotech stocks involved. That's what happened with Dynavax today.

Gloved hand holding syringe with "Covid-19 vaccination" printed on the label

Image source: Getty Images.

To be sure, any good news for SCB-2019 is good news for Dynavax. The biotech signed a deal in March with Clover, a private company, to evaluate SCB-2019 with Dynavax's CpG 1018 adjuvant. While SCB-2019 is unproven at this point, CpG 2018 isn't. The adjuvant is already used with Dynavax's Heplisav-B hepatitis B vaccine.

It's still very early, though. Clover and Dynavax have a long way to go before SCB-2019 can be declared a success. Meanwhile, there are 13 other coronavirus vaccine candidates already in clinical testing, with at least three of them in phase 2 studies, putting them well ahead of Clover and Dynavax.

Now what

Dynavax stated that preliminary results from Clover's phase 1 study should be available in August. Investors will certainly want to closely watch how promising the results for SCB-2019 are. Dynavax's CpG 2018 adjuvant is also being used in three other experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

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