Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) reported a narrower loss for the fourth quarter of 2019 helped by higher revenue and lower expenses. The bottom line was wider than the analysts’ expectations while the top line exceeded consensus estimates.
Net loss was $31.8 million or $1.13 per share, narrower than a loss of $49.3 million or $2.57 per share in the previous year quarter. Revenue jumped by 44% to $8.8 million. Analysts had expected a loss of $1.06 per share on revenue of $2.06 million for the fourth quarter.
The top-line growth was driven by revenue for the recovery of additional costs under the closeout of the HHS Barda contract, partially offset by lower revenue from the completion of enrollment of participants in the Prepare trial in the second quarter of 2018.
For the fourth quarter, research and development expenses fell by 32% primarily due to lower development activities of ResVax, a decline in employee-related costs and other cost savings due to the Catalent transaction. This was partially offset by NanoFlu’s phase 3 clinical trial and development activities.
On March 10, the company received initial funding of $4 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to support its efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. CEPI and Novavax are having ongoing discussions on additional funding from CEPI to address Novavax’s costs through phase 1.
The company remains on track to announce top-line results from its phase 3 clinical trial for its recombinant quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine candidate, NanoFlu, by the end of March 2020. The company is continuing its discussions with both global regulatory authorities and potential partners to explore the opportunity to bring ResVax to market.
Novavax began efforts to develop a novel vaccine to protect against COVID-19 in January. Novavax has produced and is currently assessing multiple nanoparticle vaccine candidates in animal models prior to advancing to clinical trials. Initiation of Phase 1 clinical testing is expected in May or June 2020. The company expects to utilize its proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to enhance immune responses.
In addition, the company announced a commercial license agreement related to its Matrix-M vaccine adjuvant, which is a key component of the Serum Institute of India’s malaria vaccine candidate. The vaccine candidate is currently in a Phase 2b clinical trial being conducted in Burkina Faso with top-line data expected in the second quarter of 2020.
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