Novavax Vaccine Is Spearheaded by Institutional Investors

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Jun. 14 2021, Published 12:07 p.m. ET

Now that the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has entered the U.S. market, Americans are questioning the company behind the shot. With  vaccine hesitancy a key obstacle in the race toward mass immunization, an unfamiliar brand requires trust from the public.

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Who owns the Novavax vaccine? What can people expect from the company moving forward?

Novavax, Inc. is behind the eponymous vaccine.

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) is the creator of the Novavax vaccine.

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Novavax is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. The company as we know it was founded in 1987 after merging with another biopharmaceutical brand. Despite the company's long history, the COVID-19 vaccine is the first time it has achieved commercialization. It was funded in large part by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which put $384 million into the honey pot.

How the Novavax vaccine works

The New York Times reported in May that the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine works by "teaching the immune system to make antibodies to the spike protein."

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For the average American, this can be difficult to comprehend. Spike-studded nanoparticles are grown and then released into the body via arm muscles. Vaccine nanoparticles are then consumed by an antigen-presenting cell and torn apart. A T cell might play a role by detecting spike particle fragments that fit into its surface proteins. From there, the communication to immune cells begins.

All of this helps cells block out coronavirus spike proteins once they enter the body. Antibodies in the body basically lock onto the spike proteins. Any cells that are breached can be eliminated.

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Unlike competitors, Novavax has the advantage of being fridge stable for three months. This makes global supply easier since it doesn't have to be carefully frozen.

The Novavax vaccine is highly effective, according to the latest data.

Novavax started researching the COVID-19 vaccine in January 2020. In June 2021, the company released a report sharing that its COVID-19 vaccine demonstrates an overall efficacy rate of 93 percent against predominant strains. For high-risk populations, the efficacy rate is 91 percent. The vaccine also offers 100-percent protection against moderate and severe comorbid diseases.

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The president of R&D for Novavax, Gregory Glenn M.D., said in a press release, "These data show consistent, high levels of efficacy and reaffirm the ability of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 amid ongoing genetic evolution of the virus."

Institutional investors hold a majority stake in Novavax.

Currently, institutional investors hold a collective 57.81 percent stake of the total outstanding shares. This comes from mutual funds (34.94 percent) and other institutions (22.88 percent). Individual stakeholders only account for 0.21 percent of the NVAX stock, which maintains a $15.68 billion market capitalization.

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As for the lead institutions partaking in trading activity for NVAX stock, there's Wellington Management Co., T. Rowe Price Associates, Fidelity Management & Research, and Renaissance Technologies. On March 31, Fidelity and Wellington purchased 3.1 million and 1.1 million Novavax shares, respectively.

The biggest institutional sellers for NVAX stock lately include Susquehanna Financial Group and RA Capital Management.

NVAX stock is up 42.7 percent in the last two weeks.

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