What happened

Shares of Novavax (NVAX 3.93%) rose 4.8% on Friday after the biotechnology company struck a deal to supply 1.1 billion doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to an international coalition.  

So what 

Novavax reached an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to supply NVX-CoV2373, its coronavirus vaccine candidate, to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative. COVAX is a global effort co-led by Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). It's designed to facilitate the equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.

A syringe is in a drug vial that's next to other drug vials.

Shares of Novavax climbed on Friday. Image source: Getty Images.

Novavax will work with Serum Institute of India (SII) to manufacture the vaccine. "We are proud to partner with all the COVAX collaborators and Serum Institute of India to provide global public health leadership and ensure that all countries have broad access to NVX-CoV2373," Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a press release. "Novavax will play a critical role in the worldwide effort to provide access to safe and effective vaccines to end the pandemic."

Now what

NVX-CoV2373 has demonstrated efficacy of greater than 89% against COVID-19 in a clinical trial in the U.K., though it's believed to be less effective against new coronavirus variants. Novavax is in the process of applying for emergency use authorization (EUA) for NVX-CoV2373, and the drug is currently being evaluated in several ongoing trials.

Still, Novavax's blockbuster 1.1 billion dose supply agreement suggests that health officials believe it's only a matter of time before regulators authorize distribution of its promising COVID-19 vaccine.

"This agreement brings the COVAX Facility one step closer to its goal of supplying vaccines globally and ending the acute phase of the pandemic," Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said.