Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) is the latest beneficiary of the biggest from “Operation Warp Speed,” a White House program pursuing accelerated access to vaccines and treatments of the coronavirus. The Maryland biotechnology received a contract worth $1.6 billion in its efforts to secure 100 million doses of a potential coronavirus, NVX CoV2373. The company’s anticipation is to deliver the vaccines by January 2021.
The Warp Speed award will cover the production testing, commercialization of the doses, according to Stanley Erck, Novavax. This is in addition to meeting the costs of running a large Phase III trial, scheduled to begin early October. It will be the last step in human testing.
A Safe and Effective Vaccine Is Imperative To Ending the Pandemic
The COVID-19 has claimed over half a million lives across the globe. About a quarter of them are from the United States, a powerful nation that today has been labeled a hot spot for the virus. This resulted in increased pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to hasten the development of a safe and effective vaccine, ending the pandemic.
In May, Novavax received a funding of $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in addition to an earlier investment of $4 million by the same institution. The company also received $60 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. According to The New York Times, this is a big scale up for a company, not on the list of vaccine finalists for Warp Speed.
Producing a Vaccine by the End of 2020 Is an Extremely Optimistic Timeline
Novavax has joined multiple companies, pushing ahead their manufacturing plans of vaccines without the certainty of whether or not they will work. With half of the year already gone, the company has this motivated plan of having 100 million doses set for distribution by late 2020.
The successful development of safe and effective vaccines takes multiple years, according to the experts. Hence, everyone will be on the lookout to see how Novavax turns around the tables within such a compressed timeline. The company will use its newly bought manufacturing facility in the Czech Republic to hasten the production of the doses. It has also increased the number of its employees to meet the demand.