There are currently three coronavirus vaccine candidates demonstrating at least 90% efficacy in late-stage studies. This puts significant pressure on coronary vaccine manufacturers such as Waxart (NASDAQ: VXRT) to provide results to their investors.
Unfortunately, Vaxart’s stock is down nearly 67% from all-time highs, as its progress has been slow. To his credit, the company’s vaccine candidate has logistical advantages over leading competitors.
First, a person swallows the candidate for an oral tablet as opposed to receiving a conventional injection. Second, it has stability at room temperature, unlike freezing requirements.
Can the shares be returned within the next year and reward the shareholders?
Not bad for progress
In a November 12 update, Vaxart revealed that after administering two doses of the vaccine to Syrian hamsters, they had developed significant levels of response to antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The study has serious limitations because it is preclinical. Usually just because experimental therapeutic work on rodents does not mean that it will work on humans.
What is promising for Vaxart, however, is its competitor Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) managed to confirm such a key hypothesis. During preclinical studies, Johnson and Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S (Ad26) protected hamsters against COVID-19 after dosing. After advancing to phase 1/2 clinical trials, Ad26 replicated its success by inducing neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in almost all human participants in a small sample. Ad26 is currently in a large-scale phase 3 study.
With the precedent set, there is a good chance that Vaxart’s vaccine candidate will also achieve immunity. The company’s experimental vaccine is currently in phase 1 trials, with data expected in the coming weeks.
The main problem facing Vaxart at the moment is not so much scientific validation as reliability. The company is currently under federal investigation and is the subject of numerous lawsuits over allegations that it exaggerated its role in Operation Warp Speed (OWS).
As early as June, Vaxart said in a press release that his vaccine candidate had been “selected for Operation US Government’s Warp Speed.” In fact, the applicant was only part of a preliminary animal testing operation. The hedge fund, which controls the company, made more than $ 200 million in profits in its June announcement through alleged domestic deals.
What is the sentence?
Despite the challenges, Vaxart is making concrete progress in advancing its coronavirus vaccine candidate. Previously, the company licensed two oral seasonal flu vaccines (Relenza and Inavir) to high-capitalized pharmaceutical companies, which developed them into commercialization. Since its inception, Vaxart has lost only a modest $ 135 million. It currently has $ 133.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.
For a company with a market capitalization of just $ 622 million, Vaxart seems a bit underrated, given the multibillion-dollar revenue potential of a coronavirus vaccine. On the other hand, the company is still at an early stage of development. Eventually, he can seize a small part of this opportunity, even if his candidate does so until approval.
As a result, biotech investors who have a high-risk, high-reward mentality may consider buying a small stake now. For everyone else, I would recommend that you at least wait for the Phase 1 data before taking a position. I see a good chance that Waxart’s candidate will be in at least phase 3 of the study by November 2021 – although the likelihood of approval is still under discussion until more data is released.