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Here's Why Novavax's Solid Vaccine Data Didn't Move the Stock

By Brian Orelli, PhD and Keith Speights - Jun 26, 2021 at 6:03AM

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The results were great news, but widely expected.

Novavax (NVAX 2.00%) reported positive data from its phase 3 clinical trial in the U.S., but investors were largely unimpressed. As Fool Canada senior analyst Nick Sciple and contributor Keith Speights discuss in this clip from Motley Fool Live, recorded on June 14, the issue largely comes down to expectations that were already baked in due to positive phase 3 data from a study based in the U.K. Investors are, rightfully, more focused on the company's ability to gain Emergency Use Authorization and manufacture the vaccine in high quantities.

Nick Sciple: Bill did mention the Novavax -- then maybe we can chat about that this morning. It's been six months maybe, maybe seven months since we got the first news of the first vaccine approvals, and we've gone from the peak of a pandemic -- nobody can leave their house -- to now in places like the U.S., across the country we have big sporting events going on, like NBA playoffs. People are there in person. Just, have you ever seen anything, even following biotech and all that stuff for a long time, like how quickly things have changed? What do you make of it?

Keith Speights: It's really just been astounding, Nick. Just think where we were this time a year ago. The world was a much different place and the difference has been these vaccines that have come out and the pace of development, the pace of testing, everything has really just been remarkable. The efficacy of these vaccines has just been mind-blowing, for a vaccine to be developed from scratch, basically. For several of them [to] come out with 90%-plus efficacy levels is just absolutely fantastic.

You mentioned Novavax. They announced their efficacy results today. It really wasn't surprising, a little over 90% efficacy. Again, great news. I did see that the stock was up some in pre-market trading and now, just at least a few seconds ago, it was actually down a little bit and yeah, it's down a little under 2% right now as we speak.

You think, well, why? Novavax had good news. I think this was one of those cases where investors expected it. When investors already expect something and then the actual news comes out, it's just like, "OK, what's next?" I'm going to get old school here, Nick.

Janet Jackson, I think, had a song way back when called, "What Have You Done for Me Lately." Novavax now has to do something else lately for investors; particularly the company needs to file and win EUA, which it hopes to file in Q3.

Sciple: I'll give you another reference. Shania Twain, "That Don't Impress Me Much."

Speights: There you go.

Sciple: What do you make of it? Novavax, obviously [it's] very exciting to have another vaccine out there. We see places around the world still trying to get their vaccine roll out, the more supply you can get out there, you can. Does it say anything about them that they're trailing behind the main pack or just more to the good?

Speights: You got to remember Novavax is tiny, really tiny. You compare Novavax against a Pfizer, I mean, there is no comparison, or a Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca. For Novavax to even be in the thick of this thing is a pretty good story for the company.

Now, they have encountered some issues, some manufacturing challenges, some supply chain bottlenecks, raw material shortages. They've run into some issues, but overall, just objectively speaking here, I don't own stock in Novavax, but overall, I think the company has done a pretty good job of navigating some treacherous waters, really, in trying to figure out how to establish a supply chain [and] make partnership deals, and they've done it. They've had some hiccups along the way, but they've done it relatively well.

So I think overall, Novavax has done a pretty good job, especially considering how tiny the company is. Now they're at the cusp of potentially having an EUA on their hands in the not-too-distant future and [to] start seeing some serious cash roll in.

Sciple: Absolutely. I see Brian is slowly but surely coming in here. So maybe this will be my last one before I throw it up to you. So Novavax getting its Emergency Use Authorization, we've seen some discussions about, I believe, Pfizer getting actually full FDA approval. Where are we at on that process and just getting these things all the way ready to go to the full population, children and things like that?

Speights: Pfizer has already received EUA for adolescents. They're conducting clinical studies for younger kids, Moderna's doing the same thing, and both Pfizer and Moderna have filed for full FDA approval. They'll win it. This is one of those -- rarely can you say, "Look, here's what the FDA is going to do for sure, they are going to produce these vaccines." That's where we are.

Sciple: Absolutely. Well, Brian, are you there? How are things going on? No, we may have lost him again. [laughs] Well, the folks have questions here on the Slido. Keith, what's another story out there. I'm not the biotech expert. What does this do for Novavax, The business? You talked about revenue coming in. Is this all of a sudden? But the stock's down, so [has] the market already priced it in, or -- what do you make of it?

Speights: The market has already priced it in to a large extent. Again, just having the efficacy results doesn't mean anything in and of itself. We've already heard from Novavax, from their U.K. study results so we already had a sneak peek at what the company was likely to report anyway. I think investors right now are just waiting for the company to file for EUA, win EUA, start shipping those vaccines, see if they can make their production goals, and see the revenue start to flow in for this company. I think that's what investors are looking for now. That's why the stock really didn't move materially. It's down a little bit, but not much in the big scheme of things. I think Novavax will have some good news in a few months and we will see what happens from there.

Brian Orelli, PhD owns shares of Novavax. Keith Speights owns shares of Pfizer. Nick Sciple has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Novavax, Inc. Stock Quote
Novavax, Inc.
$42.30 (2.00%) $0.83
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$49.75 (-0.72%) $0.36
Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
$166.09 (0.48%) $0.79
AstraZeneca PLC Stock Quote
AstraZeneca PLC
$66.81 (0.26%) $0.17

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