NVAX stock is moving higher in pre-market trading on January 21, 2020. The stock is still attracting buyers from the news that the FDA has granted NanoFlu fast track designation. News of the corona virus spreading across China could also be pushing NVAX stock higher.

On January 15, 2020, Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), a late-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, announced that the FDA has granted Fast Track Designation for NanoFlu™, its recombinant quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine candidate, adjuvanted with Matrix-M™, in adults 65 years of age and older.

“The FDA’s decision to grant Fast Track Designation for NanoFlu reflects the urgent unmet medical need for a more effective vaccine against influenza, particularly in the older adult population which often experiences serious and sometimes life-threatening complications, of the disease” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax. “We believe that NanoFlu will offer an innovative improvement compared to traditional egg-based vaccines, which frequently result in mismatch and poor effectiveness. We look forward to working closely with the FDA through the expedited review process, accelerating the access to this vaccine for the most vulnerable populations.”

The ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial is intended to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of NanoFlu compared to the quadrivalent formulation of Fluzone. The trial’s primary objectives are to demonstrate non-inferior immunogenicity as measured by hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) titers of vaccine homologous influenza strains compared to Fluzone, and to describe its safety profile. Top-line clinical data from the trial is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2020 and could support a U.S. biologics license application (BLA) and future licensure of NanoFlu using the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway.

Influenza is a world-wide infectious disease that causes illness in humans with symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening or even death. Serious illness occurs not only in susceptible populations such as infants, young children and older adults, but also in the general population largely because of infection by continuously evolving strains of influenza that can evade the existing protective antibodies in humans. An estimated one million deaths globally each year are attributed to influenza. Current estimates for seasonal influenza vaccine growth in the top seven markets (U.S., Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK), show a potential increase from approximately $3.2 billion in 2015 to $5.3 billion by 2025.

NanoFlu is a recombinant hemagglutinin (HA) protein nanoparticle influenza vaccine produced by Novavax in its SF9 insect cell baculovirus system. NanoFlu uses HA amino acid protein sequences that are the same as the recommended wild-type circulating virus HA sequences. NanoFlu contains Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant, which has demonstrated a potent and well-tolerated effect by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in local lymph nodes.

Positive top-line results of a Phase 2 clinical trial of NanoFlu in older adults released in January 2019 showed that NanoFlu induced improved immune responses when compared to the best-selling flu vaccine in the older adult market. All formulations of NanoFlu were well tolerated and elicited vigorous immune responses to the four strains included in the vaccine. For more information, read the press release here.

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