Novavax: Still a Compelling COVID-19 Play

Getting a Covid-19 vaccine to market has proven to be an arduous task for Novavax (NVAX). As one of the smaller players to come to the fore during the pandemic, the vaccine specialist has seen others get their respective vaccines across the finish line, while it has run into logistical issues and has encountered delays in getting its vaccine out to the public.

With Covid-19’s threat slowly fading and the need for vaccines less acute, this begs the question: is time running out for this once highly promising coronavirus stock?

Not according to Jefferies analyst Kelechi Chikere. Going by the company’s recent announcements, Chikere thinks a reveal of the U.S. phase 3 data is just around the corner. And a positive one at that.

“We note the company remains fairly optimistic topline vaccine efficacy will come in at 80-85%+ given a majority of study is US based and ~3/4 of infection cases are due to the alpha (UK) variant, which NVAX’s vaccine has already demonstrated high efficacy against,” the analyst said.

Novavax also remains confident that by Q3 it will file EUAs to the FDA, MHRA (UK) and EMA (EU). But as Chikere notes, some investors are worried it is too little, too late. The FDA recently suggested the “window for EUA filings is closing.” At the same time, in order to gain full approval, both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have commenced rolling submissions of BLAs for their respective mRNA vaccines.

BioNTech estimates that by the end of Q2 or early Q3 it could complete the submission. Chikere thinks Moderna’s will possibly wrap up theirs 3-4 weeks later. As Novavax has also earmarked Q3 for its EUA filing with the FDA, Chikere thinks the FDA could be reviewing all three applications at the same time.

As Chikere thinks both PFE/BNTX and MRNA’s BLAs will receive priority review, does this mean Novavax’ will receive short shrift? Not according to the noises made by the company.

“Mgmt noted govt regulators remain highly interested in NVX-CoV2373,” Chikere said, “Likely due to its high efficacy, relatively good safety/tolerability profile, and transportation/storage temperature stability.”

To this end, Chikere remains in Novavax’s corner, reiterating a Buy on the stock alongside a $235 price target. Investors could be sitting on gains of 18%, should Chikere’s forecast play out as anticipated. (To watch Chikere’s track record, click here)

Looking at the consensus breakdown, the optimists out gun the doubters. Based on 4 Buys vs. 2 Holds, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Given the $238.6 average price target, the shares are anticipated to be changing hands for a 20% premium a year from now. (See NVAX stock analysis on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.