Will Novavax Win the COVID-19 Vaccine Race?

Today at 7:52 AM ET, Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) stock rose 11.7% to $49.88 in the pre-market session. The stock rose following reports that the biotechnology company received $60 million for its coronavirus vaccine candidate NVX‑CoV2373.

According to a MarketWatch report, the Department of Defense “has agreed to provide Novavax with up to $60 million to fund the production of several components of the potential vaccine in the U.S.” The report also said, “Novavax agreed to delivery in 2020 10 million doses of NVX‑CoV2373 for DoD that could be used in phase 2/3 clinical trials, or under an Emergency Use Authorization if approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Novavax’s Q1 results

In the first quarter of fiscal 2020, which ended in March, Novavax delivered revenue of $3.4 million—a decrease of 15.2% YoY (year-over-year). Wall Street expected revenue of $1.7 million. The company posted an adjusted EPS of -$0.58, which beat the consensus estimate of -$0.70.

Wall Street analysts expect Novavax to report an adjusted EPS of -$0.20 on sales of $31.1 million in the second quarter. Analysts expect the company’s sales to rise from $18.7 million in 2019 to $159.4 million in 2020. The revenues could increase to $851.0 million in 2021. The adjusted net loss per share will decrease from $5.51 in 2019 to $0.71 in 2020. Analysts also expect an adjusted EPS of $7.64 in 2021.

Analysts’ recommendations for Novavax stock

Among the seven analysts following Novavax stock, five recommend a “buy” and two recommend a “hold.” None of the analysts recommend a “sell.” Analysts have an average target price of $51.80 on Novavax. The target price implies a return of 16% based on the closing price of $44.66 on Thursday. The consensus target price for the stock has risen from $23.17 in May—a growth of 124%.

Today, J.P. Morgan analyst Eric Joseph upgraded Novavax stock from “underweight” to “neutral” with a target price of $46. B. Riley FBR analyst Mayank Mamtani increased its target price from $61 to $74 and maintained a “buy” rating.

Stock returns

On Thursday, Novavax stock rose 0.9% and closed at $44.66 with a market cap of $2.6 billion. The stock price has fallen 0.4% in the trailing five-day period, while it has risen 1,022% year-to-date. Currently, Novavax stock is trading 27.4% below its 52-week high of $61.50 on May 18, 2020. The stock is also trading 1,162% above its 52-week low of $3.54 on November 21, 2019.

On Thursday, Novavax stock was trading 3.9% above its 20-day moving average of $42.98. Meanwhile, the stock is trading 61.9% above its 50-day moving average of $27.59 and 147% above its 100-day moving average of $18.08. The stock’s 14-day relative strength index score of 57 suggests that the stock isn’t overbought or oversold.

Novavax has an upper Bollinger Band level of $64.17, while its lower Bollinger Band level is $21.78. On Thursday, the stock closed near its middle Bollinger Band level of $42.98, which suggests that the stock is neutral.

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine

Investors should note that Moderna has started its stage 2 human trials for its coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA-1273. The biotechnology company plans to enroll 600 participants compared to 45 participants in the stage 1 trial.

Moderna stock has generated returns of 211% in the last 12 months and 20% in the last month. Moderna is trading 425% above its 52-week low of $11.54 and 30.4% below its 52-week high of $87.00.

Read Why Moderna and Novavax Are Smart Long-Term Buys and Coronavirus Vaccine: Novavax and Moderna Lead the Race to learn more.