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Is Novavax's COVID Vaccine Authorization in the Philippines a Game-Changer?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD – Dec 2, 2021 at 1:52AM

Key Points

  • Novavax won Emergency Use Authorization in the Philippines last month for its COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Philippines authorization didn't change investors' frustration with Novavax's regulatory filing delays.
  • Novavax's long-term prospects could be strong with its flu vaccine and the potential for annual COVID-19 boosters.

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In short: Not really.

Novavax (NVAX 0.67%) hasn't won authorization or approvals for its COVID-19 vaccine in major markets yet. However, the company did pick up an authorization in the Philippines last month. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Nov. 16, Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli answer a viewer's question about whether this authorization in the Philippines could be a game-changer for Novavax.

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Keith Speights: "Can you talk about Novavax? Its price is discounted. However, money seems to hesitate to get in. Do you think today's approval will be a game-changer?" And that approval is the Emergency Use Authorization in the Philippines for Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine.

Brian, what's your response to Tia's question?

Brian Orelli: Yeah. I think that investors are just really frustrated with the company that it took so long and then it squanders its chances of capturing those 10s and 20s of billions of dollars that Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech have gotten.

Long term, I think that certainly is going to get authorized in these countries. It seems like I don't know why they would submit if they didn't know that they were going to get authorized. We know that the data looks fine. The only risk here is that they don't have their manufacturing in order. That was why they didn't submit previously.

Presumably, they're not just going to then go and submit even though they're still not ready. Hopefully, that means that they're ready, but I think that the valuation will probably go up because I think some investors are a little frustrated. I'm a little frustrated about the fact that they haven't been able to get going quicker.

Longer-term, I think the flu vaccine, which is ready to go, it's already through phase 3 trials. They need to submit that. I think that will help them a lot and then a combination.

Again, it's still whether we're going to need annual boosters. If we need annual boosters, that resets things. Eventually, the government's not going to be involved in buying this, it's going to be individual pharmacies.

Then you're just going to get whatever vaccine you end up getting from that pharmacy. That maybe levels of playing field a little bit for Novavax, even though it's late to the party, although then they have to establish its sales force and that thing, which is going to be another challenge for the company as they ramp up.

Brian Orelli, PhD owns shares of Novavax. Keith Speights owns shares of Pfizer. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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