What happened

Shares of Novavax (NVAX 2.65%) surged 18.7% on Wednesday after the biotechnology company struck a deal to supply as many as 200 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate to the EU.  

So what

Should Novavax's vaccine obtain regulatory approval, the European Commission (EC) will purchase up to 100 million doses. The agreement also gives the EC the option to buy an additional 100 million doses by 2023.

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

Image source: Getty Images.

Novavax hopes to complete the rolling submission for its drug to the European Medicines Agency in the third quarter. "With clinical data from our trials showing strong efficacy against Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest, we believe that our vaccine candidate will play a critical role in the effort to help control the pandemic in the EU and other regions in the world," Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a press release.

Now what

Novavax demonstrated overall efficacy of 89.7% against COVID-19 in a phase 3 clinical trial in the U.K. The drug was also generally well-tolerated among the study's roughly 15,000 participants. Health officials say the vaccine could help to slow the spread of COVID-19 at a time when case counts are mounting at an alarming rate.

"As new coronavirus variants are spreading in Europe and around the world, this new contract with a company that is already testing its vaccine successfully against these variants is an additional safeguard for the protection of our population," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.