Novavax shares plunge in Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing issues report


Novavax has experienced various delays in the development and manufacture of its Covid-19 vaccine.


Photo:

TJ Kirkpatrick for The Wall Street JOURNAL

Shares of Novavax Inc.

NVAX -10.52%

fell sharply on Wednesday after a report said the pharmaceutical company was having difficulty making a Covid-19 vaccine that met regulators’ quality standards.

The stock fell 24% before cutting some losses in morning trading.

Maryland-based Novavax has a Covid-19 vaccine that it said was 90.4% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in adults in a large clinical trial. But the company, which has never obtained approval for a vaccine, has experienced various delays in the development and manufacture of its vaccine.

A new report in Politico cast further doubt on the efficacy of the Novavax vaccine. Politico said the methods the company used to test the purity of its vaccine did not meet regulators’ standards, with the publication citing several people familiar with Novavax’s struggles.

Novavax issued a statement Wednesday saying he expects to complete ongoing regulatory submissions in the coming weeks in the UK, Europe and Canada. He said he has already applied for authorization in India and for emergency use with the World Health Organization. The company said it plans to file its vaccine for emergency use authorization in the United States by the end of 2021.

“We are confident that our vaccine will soon play an important role in the global Covid-19 vaccine arsenal, differentiating itself through its potential to help solve two major issues that are slowing the world’s ability to end the pandemic: the challenges of global distribution and the reluctance to vaccinate, ”Stanley Erck, CEO of Novavax, said in a statement.

Novavax previously pledged to deliver around 1.1 billion doses of vaccine globally through Covax, the world’s leading effort to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the poorest countries. Delays could hamper Covax’s efforts to vaccinate large swathes of the emerging world.

The US federal government invested $ 1.6 billion in Novavax in 2020 in the hope that it would become one of the main suppliers of Covid-19 vaccines.

Recent studies have shown that the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines is decreasing, although experts say the injections still work well. WSJ explains what the numbers mean and why they don’t tell the whole story. Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds / WSJ

Write to Omar Abdel-Baqui at omar.abdel-baqui@wsj.com

Corrections and amplifications
Novavax shares lost about a quarter of their value on Wednesday. An earlier version of this article distorted the day like Tuesday. (Oct 20, 2021)

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