On Tuesday, biotech company Novavax (NVAX) received $1.6 billion in funding through a new federal contract. This contract is just the latest awarded by the federal government through its COVID-19 vaccine program, “Operation Warp Speed.” Moderna (MRNA), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and AstraZeneca (AZN) have also received contracts through the federal vaccine program.
The technology that Novavax is using to create potential vaccines has yet to place one on the market for use successfully. Previously, Novavax has attempted to use the same tech to create possible vaccines for influenza, respiratory syncytial, and the deadly Ebola virus.
Novavax’s current trial at creating a vaccine to combat coronavirus is based on using the “spike” protein portion of the virus in an attempt to deter the virus from infecting people by making it think the spike represents a current infection; the body’s immune system would then utilize this opportunity to attack and rid the infected person of the virus.
In speaking about the vaccine, CEO of Novavax Stanley Erck said, “I think we have a high level of confidence that that our vaccine will set off the appropriate immune response to generate lots of antibodies.” The Department of Defense appears to share the same confidence; this was displayed by a $60 million contract announced in June by the company for ten million doses that the Department of Defense wants to be delivered.
On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on their website that the current goal of Operation Warp Speed is to supply Americans with 300 million vaccine doses by the year 2021.
While stocks were reportedly rising for Novavax on Tuesday, at the time of this article’s writing, the company’s shares were down 7.32% to $96.91.
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