What happened

Shares of the COVID-19 vaccine developer Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) jumped by a healthy 73% during the month of November, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. To put this sizable northward move into the proper context, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF gained a far more modest 10.9% over the course of November.  

So what

Investors poured into this clinical-stage biotech stock for two interrelated reasons:

  1. After reports of a dosing error broke last month, AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) may now have to wait on results from another late-stage trial in order to gain U.S. approval for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Astra's clinical setback, in turn, could translate into hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- in additional vaccine sales for Novavax and its COVID-19 vaccine known as NVX-CoV2373. 
  2. What's more, Novavax now has a clear line of sight at grabbing the third COVID-19 vaccine approval in the U.S in the wake of Astra's clinical misadventure. With trial results for NVX-CoV2373's ongoing U.K. trial slated for the first quarter of 2021, the company could thus have an Emergency Use Authorization for this high-value product before the middle of 2021. 
Close up image of the novel coronavirus.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

2021 promises to be a busy, and perhaps transformational, year for this mid-cap biotech company. Apart from its COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax is also expected to file for approval for its flu vaccine candidate NanoFlu around the globe next year. What's important to understand is that NanoFlu could be the company's second multi-billion dollar a year product. Therefore, Novavax's stock might have a lot more room to run in 2021 and beyond. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.