What happened

On planet Earth, what comes up must come down, according to both the laws of physics and Novavax (NVAX 7.79%) investors. After rising nicely in price for most of the week, the vaccine developer's share price took a nearly 8% tumble on Friday, with a new and bearish analyst take on the company spoiling the party.

So what

The analyst in question was B. Riley's Mayank Mamtani, who enacted a fairly steep price target cut on Novavax shares. He now thinks the stock is worth only $83 per share, quite a change from his previous level of $126. Despite this drastic reduction, Mamtani still has plenty of hope for the biotech, as he's maintaining his buy recommendation on the shares.

It wasn't immediately clear why the B. Riley analyst made his move, but regardless, it adds even more motion to a persistently up-and-down stock. Novavax's Nuvaxovid, a protein-based coronavirus vaccine, keeps racking up wins with authorizations by numerous healthcare regulators -- including, crucially, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

However, it's never quite shaken its reputation as a laggard in the Great COVID Vaccine Race, since its FDA green light occurred much later than those for Pfizer and BioNTech's Comirnaty, and Moderna's Spikevax. Yes, the pandemic seems to be fading, but daily new cases still number in the tens of thousands in this country. So market presence still matters, and Novavax was a latecomer.

Now what

Neither its back-of-the-pack position nor the fresh and steep price target cut should dissuade Novavax bulls, however.

The company has proved that it can manufacture an efficacious vaccine throughout the world, and its development efforts are looking good these days. This past Thursday, for instance, it revealed that the experimental combination COVID/flu jab it hopes to bring to market tested well in its latest clinical trial.