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Novavax, fashionably late to the COVID-19 vaccine party, could still reap $5B in 2022: analyst

After a winding path to a coronavirus vaccine launch that still hasn’t reached the U.S., Novavax’s program could be destined to reap billions of dollars in sales this year, one group of analysts predicts.

Chalk it up to what’s looking like a strong first-quarter revenue haul for the Gaithersburg, Maryland-based biotech, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note to clients Tuesday following a chat with Novavax’s chief financial officer Jim Kelly.

The company’s only marketed product is its protein-based coronavirus vaccine Nuvaxovid, which is slowly racking up green lights in places like the EU, the U.K., Australia and South Korea.

Thanks to “meaningful product sales mostly from high income countries,” the analysts believe Novavax’s shot could reach $4 billion to $5 billion in global sales this year. The team forecasts first-quarter sales of about $700 million to $800 million.

Strong first-quarter sales would likely get the ball rolling, with another boost pegged to come after potential updates on vaccine orders for the remainder of 2022 and 2023. Other Novavax news investors will want to watch will involve its potential U.S. authorization or approval, its deliveries to WHO, GAVI and CEPI’s Covax facility, plus omicron-specific vaccine plans and the unveiling of more chemistry, manufacturing and controls capacity, the analysts said.

Meanwhile, COVID is far from over, the analysts warned. As the pandemic becomes endemic, regular vaccination is likely to become a fact of life.

“Considering current vaccine durability and ever-evolving [COVID-19], we continue to see [COVID-19] to end up being an endemic disease requiring effective/tolerated regular vaccination—supporting long-term revenue projection,” the analysts said.

After rapidly developing its vaccine in the pandemic’s first year, Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine ambitions were waylaid by a series of regulatory and manufacturing hitches. The company originally aimed to get its shot authorized and up for delivery by the middle of 2021.

Now armed with an authorization in adults in Europe, Novavax in late February started shipping Nuvaxovid to the bloc, beginning with deliveries to Austria, France and Germany. Europe is also reviewing Novavax’s shot for use in kids ages 12 to 17, which would unlock an even bigger market in the EU. Still, early uptake has been limited, Reuters reported in March.

Meanwhile, Novavax finally submitted its long-awaited emergency use authorization request in the U.S. back in late January.

It’s unclear what sort of use Nuvaxovid will see in the U.S., where mRNA shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have taken center stage. Earlier this year, Novavax’s CEO Stanley Erck told The New York Times the company was working with officials “to develop a plan which includes doses, manufacturing, timing and ongoing clinical trial research for boosters and pediatrics to support their pandemic response.”