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Has Novavax Lost the Vaccine Race to Moderna?

By Taylor Carmichael - Updated Jun 26, 2021 at 9:54PM

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Moderna and Pfizer got their COVID-19 vaccines to market fast. Will there be any opportunity left for Novavax to win market share?

In December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency use authorizations (EUA) to the mRNA vaccines from Moderna (MRNA -5.06%) and Pfizer (PFE -1.40%). Since then, the two companies have seized the lion share of the vaccine market in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Novavax (NVAX -5.56%) vaccine has been delayed, and the company now hopes that it will receive an EUA in July. Will there be any vaccine market left for the biotech upstart? In this clip from Motley Fool Live recorded on May 14, 2021, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and Motley Fool writer Taylor Carmichael discuss whether Moderna has squashed Novavax. 

Corinne Cardina: For Novavax though, their regular COVID-19 vaccine, they did update us on when they will be hoping for emergency use authorization. What's the latest on just the COVID-19 vaccine, which is much further along than, of course, the idea of combined flu/COVID.

Taylor Carmichael: Well, they've had really positive phase 3 data, in fact, depending on how you look at the numbers, they had the most positive data, it was 96 percent effective. They're having manufacturing delays, they have to prove to the FDA that when they manufacture, it's going to be consistent across all their factories, all their lines, and so they were originally hoping to get the EUA in the second quarter and now it's going to probably be the third quarter, and they think it's going to be early in the third quarter hopefully, which will be July. I think, if I'm doing my math right. June is the end of the second quarter. They think it's going to be in July.

Corinne Cardina: At that point, do you think there will still be a demand for new vaccines in the US or are they entering a market that's already saturated?

Taylor Carmichael: Honestly, it doesn't matter. They have already sold it. It's already been sold and been paid for. The nice thing about the Novavax vaccine, it lasts a year or more. You can just stockpile it, and put it in a warehouse somewhere, and it's still good next year. But yes, I think you're right. I was holding out for the Novavax vaccine, but I went ahead and got the Moderna one. I'm halfway through, I need one more. And you're a Moderna shareholder, so you are happy about that.

Corinne Cardina: Me and my one Moderna share, we're very happy [LAUGHTER].

Taylor Carmichael: Have you gotten both shots?

Corinne Cardina: Yeah. I got my last shot last weekend, I just slept that second day, but overall, was OK.

Taylor Carmichael: Why did you buy just the one share of Moderna? That's fascinating to me. [LAUGHTER] You just want to keep track?

Corinne Cardina: I like to open a small position and keep an eye on things. I'm still in the early stages of really building out a portfolio. If I went with too many shares would be a little heavy Moderna, which is a little risky.

Taylor Carmichael: Yeah yeah yeah, that's fun. It's not a bad idea if you're tracking a stock or you're thinking -- just buy a little bit. You go ahead and make the buy, and then you can always add to it later.

Corinne Cardina: Moderna it's really compelling long-term. They're now on the map with the proof-of-concept of mRNA, they have so many exciting things in the pipeline, that if even one or two of them works out, it's going to be a huge long tail success for them.

Taylor Carmichael: Yeah.

Corinne Cardina: I've been really impressed by their ability to move fast. Of course, there are some downsides. Their Chief Medical Officer dipped out of the company or at least announced that he was going to, so it's like, "Oh, cool, [LAUGHTER] all that institutional knowledge goes away," but there's, obviously, other people at the company that will retain that knowledge. It takes a lot for me to buy a biotech company. [LAUGHTER] It says a lot about my feelings on Moderna that I did buy one share.

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Corinne Cardina owns shares of Moderna Inc. Taylor Carmichael owns shares of Novavax. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
$150.00 (-5.06%) $-8.00
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$48.58 (-1.40%) $0.69
Novavax, Inc. Stock Quote
Novavax, Inc.
$37.18 (-5.56%) $-2.19

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