What happened

Shares of Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) climbed 10% on Friday after the biotechnology company reached a coronavirus vaccine supply deal with the United Kingdom. 

So what 

Novavax will supply the U.K. with 60 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. The biotech is also planning a phase 3 study to test the effectiveness of the vaccine among participants from the U.K.

"It is encouraging that Novavax's recent clinical data shows their vaccine triggers an immune response greater than that in patients who have recovered from the disease," said Kate Bingham, Chair of the U.K. Government's Vaccines Taskforce. "We believe that Novavax has a highly innovative vaccine that could be the first in its class of protein-based vaccine options."

A person is pointing to an upwardly sloping line.

Novavax's stock rose sharply on Friday. Image source: Getty Images.

Novavax is also broadening its partnership with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, which will help manufacture as much as 180 million doses annually of NVX-CoV2373 from a site in the U.K. if the vaccine is shown to be safe and effective.

Now what 

Phase 1 data from Novavax's clinical trial was promising -- NVX-CoV2373 induced a robust antibody response in patients and was generally well-tolerated. Novavax expects to begin a phase 2 study later this month.

The phase 3 clinical trial in the U.K. will include as many as 9,000 participants aged 18 to 85. It will test the effectiveness of NVX-CoV2373 against COVID-19, as well as observe its ability to produce antibody and T-cell responses in the human body. The study is expected to begin in the third quarter.

Novavax's agreement with the U.K. follows deals with the U.S., Japan, India, and South Korea in recent weeks. "We are honored to partner with the U.K. government to deliver a vaccine that could provide vital protection in the fight against the global health crisis," Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said.

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