Novavax Covid vaccine can still catch up to Pfizer, Moderna shots

A health worker prepares a dose of the Novavax vaccine as the Dutch Health Service Organization starts with the Novavax vaccination program on March 21, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Patrick Van Katwijk | Getty Images

Americans can finally get their hands on Novavax‘s newest Covid vaccine after U.S. regulators greenlighted the shot this week.

The vaccine’s arrival comes nearly three weeks after new jabs from Pfizer and Moderna reached the public, and after more than 4 million patients rolled up their sleeves to get a shot in September. But Wall Street analysts aren’t worried about that delay.

They said Novavax appears well positioned to catch up and compete this fall with the other companies in the U.S. Covid vaccine market, particularly after logistical issues hampered the rollout of the other shots and a Food and Drug Administration label that allows for wide accessibility to Novavax’s jab, among other factors.

“I’m really not concerned about the timeline or lag relative to the other shots,” B. Riley Securities analyst Mayank Mamtani told CNBC. He added that regulators cleared Novavax’s new shot only slightly later than what the company had estimated, which was late in the third quarter.

That’s good news for Novavax, which is working to strengthen its financial position after raising doubts about its ability to stay in business at the beginning of the year. The biotech company is banking on sales of its updated Covid vaccine — its only commercially available product — and a broad cost-cutting push to help it stay afloat. 

Public health officials see Novavax’s vaccine as a valuable alternative for people who don’t want to take messenger RNA shots from Pfizer and Moderna, which teach cells how to make proteins that trigger an immune response against Covid. Novavax’s shot fends off the virus with protein-based technology, a decades-old method used in routine vaccinations against hepatitis B and shingles.

Silvia Taylor, Novavax’s chief corporate affairs and advocacy officer, told CNBC that the company has collected data showing that 25% to 30% of people prefer a protein-based vaccine.

“We look forward to meeting this demand and more in the wake of new variants and rising COVID cases,” Taylor said in a statement.

Shares of Novavax jumped more than 10% on Tuesday after the FDA cleared its new shot. But the company’s stock is still down more than 25% year to date after shedding more than 90% of its value last year.

Novavax’s shot has a broad authorization label

The FDA authorized Novavax’s updated vaccine — which targets the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 — for emergency use in people ages 12 and older. Patients previously vaccinated with an older Covid vaccine are eligible to receive one dose of Novavax’s new jab, while unvaccinated people can receive two doses, according to the authorization.

The FDA similarly approved the new shots from Pfizer and Moderna for people ages 12 and older, but the agency also authorized those vaccines for emergency use…

Read More: Novavax Covid vaccine can still catch up to Pfizer, Moderna shots

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