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Novavax shares rise after deal to provide 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to UK



Dr. Sonia Matiejewski (R) and Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody Detection and Vaccine Development, look at a sample of respiratory virus at Novavax Laboratories in Rockville, Maryland, on March 20, 2020, one of the laboratories developing coronavirus vaccine, COVID-19.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds AFP | Getty images

Shares of Novavax rose on Friday after the company said it had reached a deal with the UK to supply 60 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine.

Novavax did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. As part of the deal, the UK will work with the company in its three-phase clinical trials, which are expected to begin this quarter. The potential vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, will be tested on about 9,000 adults between the ages of 1

8 and 85, the company said.

Novavax shares were over 8% in trading at noon.

“We are honored to partner with the UK government to deliver a vaccine that could provide vital protection in the fight against the global health crisis,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erk said in a statement on Friday. “Our Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK will be a critical component for evaluating the efficacy of NVX-CoV2373, which in Phase 1 has already been shown to be well tolerated and elicit stable antibody responses.”

The company already has a deal with the US government. Last month, the Trump administration’s initiative announced it would pay Novavax $ 1.6 billion to develop and manufacture a potential vaccine to deliver 100 million doses by early next year.

The Novavax vaccine contains synthesized pieces of the surface protein that the coronavirus uses to infect humans.

Last week, the company announced that its potential vaccine was generating a promising immune response in an early-stage clinical trial with 131 healthy participants.

The vaccine produces neutralizing antibodies that researchers believe are needed to build immunity to the virus and kill deadly T cells, the company said. In addition, the vaccine appears to be well tolerated without serious adverse events being reported.

Novavax is among several companies vying to develop a vaccine to fight the virus, which has infected more than 20.9 million people worldwide and killed at least 760,000 as of Friday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. According to the World Health Organization, more than 150 vaccines are being developed worldwide, with at least 26 already being tested in humans.

Late last month, drug companies Pfizer and Moderna announced they were beginning testing in the final stages of potential coronavirus vaccines. These studies will involve about 30,000 participants.

Healthcare professionals expect to know whether one of the many vaccines under development will be safe and effective by the end of this year or early 2021.


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