Considered to be in the top three that’s leading the way in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, Gaithersburg-based Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) has received a massive amount of media attention lately and for good reason.
The biotech received backing from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an organization founded by The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The funding was a total record-breaking $388 million.
Novavax recently entered a phase 1/2 clinical trial stage for its selected COVID-19 candidate NVX-CoV2373, ahead of much larger companies such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) which hasn’t entered a phase one clinical trial.
In preparation to manufacture doses of its vaccine, Novavax has partnered with fellow biotech, Gaithersburg-based Emergent BioSolutions and even purchased a vaccine maker in the Czech Republic in order to more readily distribute NVX-CoV2373 on that side of the world.
Yet, for some reason Novavax didnt make it on the Presidential priority list of five companies advancing a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the New York Times (NYT), those companies that did make the list include Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Merck (NYSE:MRK) and as previously mentioned, Johnson & Johnson.
Another big pharma to make the list is AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), which also has a massive operations center in Gaithersburg where that location is the company's primary biologics research and development arm in the U.S. as well as the home to AstraZeneca’s Global Medicines Development function and Specialty Products Group.
If Novavax was on the list, it would have received additional government support, including financial and logistical. While the NYT article states that the companies on the list are farthest along in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, that simply is not true since Novavax is not on the list, the company is actually ahead of Merck as well in that regard.
The companies stock price doesn’t appear to have been affected by the news too badly, it recovered from a dip on Wednesday and still manages to maintain a market cap that’s about $2.6 billion, well above the $100 million valuation it held last November.