What happened

Shares of Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) were up 2.3% as of 12:03 p.m. EDT on Wednesday after moving 4.2% higher earlier in the day. The company didn't report any news, so it's possible that today's gain could be in response to Altimmune (NASDAQ:ALT) throwing in the towel on its experimental nasal COVID-19 vaccine after disappointing clinical results. But Novavax's move could also simply be a continuation of momentum that began last week.

So what

A relatively small jump for Novavax isn't anything to get overly excited about. Biotech stocks frequently move up and down by even larger percentages with no obvious catalyst.

Scientist holding a syringe with needle and a vaccine vial.

Image source: Getty Images.

Altimmune's decision to discontinue the development of its nasal COVID vaccine candidate AdCOVID does mean that Novavax's NVX-CoV2373 has one fewer potential competitor on the horizon. However, AdCOVID was only in phase 1 testing and wasn't viewed as a significant near-term threat to any of the leading COVID vaccines.

Still, Novavax's prospects continue to look good. The company reported positive results from a phase 3 study of NVX-CoV2373 conducted in the U.S. and Mexico a couple of weeks ago. The emergence of worrisome coronavirus variants could increase the market opportunity for Novavax's COVID vaccine.

Now what

All eyes are now on Novavax's upcoming submissions for Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) of NVX-CoV2373. The company has stated that it expects to file for EUAs in the U.S., U.K., and Europe in the third quarter of this year.

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.