Shares of Ocugen (OCGN -0.21%) were jumping 13.9% higher as of 3:28 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The big gain came after data from a third-party study showed a promising immune response against variants of concern from COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for up to six months.
The results from the study haven't been peer-reviewed yet. However, they appear to be encouraging. The data showed that Covaxin achieved an immune response similar to that of natural COVID-19 infection in terms of antibody levels as well as levels of memory B cells and CD4+ T cells. This data stands in stark contrast to the waning efficacy observed with messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines with the delta variant.
Ocugen has marketing rights for Covaxin in the U.S. and Canada. The biotech stock rose in large part because investors interpreted the results announced today as an indication that Covaxin could be effective against the fast-spreading omicron variant.
Granted, the data didn't include an analysis of the omicron variant. Because Covaxin generated a robust immune response with other variants of concern, though, there's optimism that similar results could be seen with omicron.
It remains to be seen how Covaxin fares with the omicron variant. There's a real possibility that it could be more effective than currently available vaccines, though. Instead of targeting only the spike protein as these vaccines do, Covaxin is a whole-virion inactivated vaccine.
Ocugen plans to report results from its own study evaluating Covaxin against the omicron variant when the data are available. The biggest challenge for the company, however, is securing authorization for Covaxin in the U.S. and/or Canada.