Amid phase 3 clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) is already eyeing a combination vaccine that targets both influenza and COVID-19 viruses. As Novavax continues to seek approval in the U.S., many wonder what to expect from the product.
NVAX shareholders seem to feel the same, with marked fluctuations since the beginning of the year. As the future of Novavax products remains hopeful, will the stock be a buy or sell for investors?
Explaining the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine
Novavax is in the middle of the dual phase three clinical trials for its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine, which fights against the coronavirus. The company reports that the vaccine candidate displays 89.3 percent efficacy in fighting the virus.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only has a 66.3 percent efficacy rate, while Moderna's is at 94.1 percent. Pfizer shows a more than 95 percent efficacy level in the real world as the company continues to distribute doses.
Unlike the current contenders, Novavax also targets two new variants of COVID-19 found in the U.K. and South Africa. It's a two-dose vaccine using protein subunits "containing a proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant," according to Pharmaceutical Technology. This means that it doesn't use mRNA like Moderna and Pfizer, or virus-based technology like Johnson & Johnson.
What a combined vaccine from Novavax could mean
Despite the fact that Novavax continues to seek approval for its vaccine candidate, the company is already seeking to get ahead of the game on a combined influenza and COVID-19 shot. The product looks promising in animal trials, but it's too soon to tell whether it will work.
The market appears weary of NVAX stock.
Novavax has been seeking emergency approval in the U.S. and U.K. since at least the beginning of the year. The company has been able to distribute in countries like Colombia. However, it's lagging in developed nations as Operation Warp Speed continues.
For Novavax, the speed is precisely what's causing the delays in different directions. Still, its YTD returns of 45.02 percent are on par with that of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), which has grown 42.11 percent during the same period.
After a 100 percent bull run following successful clinical trial results in late January, the shares have swung downward on three separate occasions.
Novavax is on the cusp of getting approved, but anyone who invests now is betting on that uncertainty. The company seems to be doing shareholders favors by looking toward the future at a combined vaccine, but its ongoing fight over the COVID-19 vaccine continues. This makes me weary to label the stock a buy.
What analysts predict for Novavax (NVAX) stock
Currently, Novavas shares trade at $163.84. Analysts report potential growth starting at 74.2 percent over the next 12 months, but this rate depends on a successful trajectory for the Novavax vaccine. As people interested in vaccination get their shots, the demand for doses wanes and healthcare professionals must work to convince hesitant individuals to get vaccinated. That's another fight Novavax will have to contend with in the race to the finish line.