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Why Novavax Sank by Nearly 5% on Tuesday

By Eric Volkman – Oct 5, 2021 at 4:24PM

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The company's latest news isn't about advancing its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

What happened

Vaccine-specialist Novavax (NVAX 2.62%) wasn't inoculated against the stock market's bears on Tuesday. Investors traded the company's shares down by 4.6% on a generally good day for the market. This occurred despite Novavax announcing the hiring or promotion of several well-qualified executives.

So what

After market hours on Monday, Novavax announced it had filled one newly created executive position and appointed two people to key roles in the company. The new job role is that of the busy-sounding senior vice president, chief safety officer, and head of global vaccine safety.

Healthcare professionals conferring in a hospital lobby.

Image source: Getty Images.

This is being filled by Denny Kim, who comes to Novavax from Johnson & Johnson's Janssen subsidiary. Kim had been at the Johnson & Johnson unit since the start of 2019. Among other experiences, he did a five-plus year stint at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in a variety of executive-level jobs.

Meanwhile, Novavax has appointed Raburn Mallory as senior vice president and head of clinical development. Mallory comes to the company from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, where he served for less than a year as its vice president of clinical development, infectious diseases, and vaccines. 

Finally, Novavax said that it has promoted Marco Cacciuttolo to senior vice president of process and analytical development. Prior to that, Cacciuttolo was a vice president at the company, which he joined in 2020. 

Now what

The key personnel move here seems to be Kim's appointment. In its press release, Novavax said that his "leadership and COVID-19 vaccine experience uniquely equip him to lead a best-in-class safety and pharmacovigilance function at Novavax."

That's heartening, but perhaps this illustrates a slightly uncomfortable fact about the company: After months of being in the public eye thanks to its NVX-CoV2373 coronavirus vaccine candidate, it still hasn't submitted it for Emergency Use Authorization to the Food and Drug Administration.

This apparently is going to happen by the end of this year, but investors might be annoyed that the latest news is about personnel, not about that product.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Novavax Stock Quote
Novavax
NVAX
$17.22 (2.62%) $0.44
AstraZeneca Plc Stock Quote
AstraZeneca Plc
AZN
$68.85 (0.42%) $0.29
Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
JNJ
$177.17 (0.61%) $1.07
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Stock Quote
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
TAK
$14.69 (0.89%) $0.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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