Healthcare Business

Operation Warp Speed Against COVID-19 Ramps Up With Novavax and Regeneron

Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) each made solid progress on Tuesday after each company received a sizable capital injection from the U.S. government’s “Operation Warp Speed” program.

Operation Warp Speed aims to begin delivering millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021. As part of this program, the government is helping out companies involved in the development of a vaccine by providing what they need most, cash.

Novavax was awarded $1.6 billion by the federal government as part of this program. For some comparison, note that Novavax had a market cap of roughly $4.7 billion on Monday’s close. Regeneron received $450 million under the program, and it has a market cap of roughly $65 billion.

The cash injection to Novavax is meant for its late-stage clinical development of a vaccine. This includes a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial of NVX‑CoV2373, Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This money is also meant to establish large-scale manufacturing and deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine, as early as late 2020.

For Regeneron, the government support is meant to support the manufacturing of REGN-COV2 for immediate use, if the clinical trials are successful and the double antibody cocktail wins FDA approval. The agreement covers a fixed number of bulk lots that are expected to be completed this fall, according to the company.

Regeneron expects a range of 70,000 to 300,000 potential treatment doses, or 420,000 to 1.3 million prevention doses, to be available from these lots. The initial doses are anticipated to be completed as early as the end of the summer.

Novavax stock traded up over 33% on Tuesday to $106.11, in a 52-week range of $3.54 to $111.77. The consensus price target is $86.25.

Regeneron stock was up 1.5%, at $636.99 in a 52-week range of $271.37 to $646.33. The consensus price target is $616.96.