This Under-the-Radar Vaccine Play Can Still Make a Splash

Pfizer and Moderna may have to move over…

This story was originally published here.

Every once in a blue moon, a crisis is the perfect catalyst for a beleaguered company. That’s the rarefied air that Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) found itself in when the novel coronavirus became a pandemic. Prior to the global calamity, NVAX stock was on the verge of collapse, as the New York Times bluntly stated. Suddenly, though, Novavax’s specialty in protein subunit vaccines became immensely relevant.

So called because the approach utilizes a protein (or part of a protein) of the target virus, along with an adjuvant (immune-boosting compound) to spark an immune response, subunit vaccines were an ideal candidate for combating Covid-19. First and foremost, subunits are proven, as demonstrated by the hepatitis B vaccine. Second, they’re appropriate for people with underlying conditions.

With Covid-19 disproportionately impacting the older demographic and those with comorbidities, Novavax’s candidate, NVX-CoV2373, offered a small but substantive beacon of hope toward this terrible outbreak. Not surprisingly, NVAX stock went from its deathbed to meteoric heights.

But from its peak of late summer 2020, shares have settled down substantially. One of the major causes of the volatility in NVAX stock was competition. Primarily, messenger-RNA vaccines stormed to the forefront. Though nucleic-acid-based vaccines have never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration prior to the coronavirus-fueled emergency use authorization, the RNA-based approach offered one critical advantage – rapid manufacturing.

A few years ago, Harvard University explored the subject of novel biotechnologies to prevent and treat diseases. One that showed promise – particularly for virus outbreaks – was RNA vaccines. Studies demonstrated that they could be produced quickly (inside two months) at low cost, allowing them to be distributed during “epidemics even as they develop.”

Of course, time was of the essence. Therefore, RNA vaccine developers took control of the narrative, leaving NVAX stock trading horizontally for long stretches of time. But is that the end of the story for investors? Story continues here.

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Matt McCall
Editor, Matt McCall’s Investment Opportunities

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