What happened

Shares of Novavax (NVAX -0.43%) jumped by as much as 20.7% in pre-market trading Wednesday morning. If this sizable pre-market move holds, the company's shares will easily print a new all-time high today.  

The spark? Novavax's stock is getting yet another boost from its closely watched COVID-19 vaccine candidate known as NVX-CoV2373. Specifically, the biotech reported yesterday that every patient in the first portion of this ongoing phase 1/2 trial exhibited anti-spike IgG antibodies after only a single dose. After a second dose, every patient in the study also developed wild-type virus neutralizing antibody responses to this virus. 

So what

While Novavax is a few months behind the leaders in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, this early stage data suggests that the company might have a best-in-class product. That's a big deal because a top-tier COVID-19 vaccine -- sold at only a modest profit margin -- could haul in some truly staggering sales figures (greater than $13 billion annually).

A man drawing an positive growth curve with his index finger. The year 2020 sits above the apex of the curve.

Image source: Getty Images.

What's more, Novavax might have the option of offering a combination COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccine at some point down the road. That key development, which may confer a major competitive advantage over some of the biotech's peers, will ultimately depend on the regulatory fate of the late-stage flu vaccine NanoFlu.   

Now what

Can Novavax's stock fly even higher? Although it seems counterintuitive based on the stock's rockstar performance over the past seven months, the truth is that Novavax's shares may have a lot more room to run. COVID-19 isn't going anywhere any time soon according to most experts, and it may even evolve into a long-term seasonal concern.

In short, it wouldn't be surprising in the least if this red-hot biotech stock ended the year at over $300 a share -- or 91% higher compared to where its shares closed on Tuesday.