What happened

Shares of Vaxart (VXRT -6.00%) were jumping 8.5% higher as of 10:39 a.m. EDT on Tuesday after rising as much as 19.6% earlier in the day. The big gain came following the company's announcement that it has dosed the first subject in a phase 1 study of oral table COVID-19 vaccine candidate VXA-CoV2-1.

So what

It's definitely a major milestone for Vaxart to begin a phase 1 study of its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The company previously reported encouraging preclinical data for VXA-CoV2-1.

Scientist holding test tube with image of coronavirus in the foreground

Image source: Getty Images.

Vaxart's phase 1 study will evaluate VXA-CoV2-1 in up to 48 healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 18 and 54. Participants will receive two doses of the experimental oral vaccine, with some receiving a low dose and others receiving a high dose.

This study will be critical for Vaxart to demonstrate that VXA-CoV2-1 shows as much potential in humans as it did in preclinical studies. VXA-CoV2-1 could be attractive if it proves to be safe and effective because it would be easier to distribute, store, and administer than the leading injectable coronavirus vaccine candidates. 

Now what

The biotech stock could have another catalyst on the way relatively soon. Vaxart expects to complete enrollment in its phase 1 study early next month. CEO Andrei Floroiu stated that the company is "looking forward to receiving the first clinical data in the next few weeks."