Why Novavax Stock Lagged the Market on Wednesday

What happened

It isn’t easy being a Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) shareholder. It seems that every time the specialist vaccine company delivers good news about its business, the market is either indifferent or trades the stock down.

That rule seemed to apply on Wednesday, as Novavax’s shares fell by over 1% as the S&P 500 index floated marginally higher — despite ostensibly encouraging news on the regulatory front.

So what

Novavax’s positive news is that its NVX-CoV2373 coronavirus vaccine (also known by its brand name, Nuvaxovid) will find its way into many more arms across the Atlantic Ocean.

The European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the 27-country European Union, on Tuesday approved an expansion of the jab’s conditional marketing authorization (CMA) to cover individuals age 12 through 17.

That authorization was granted on the basis of a phase 3 trial conducted in the US with patients in that demographic. Similar to late-stage trials on adults, Nuvaxovid tested extremely well, demonstrating overall efficacy of 80% — a very high figure for a vaccine. The shot was also generally well tolerated, with low instances of serious and severe adverse events.

Now what

The expansion of the CMA is indisputably a win for Novavax, particularly given the size and sprawl of the Union.

What’s probably dampening investor enthusiasm, as ever with the vaccine maker, is that Nuvaxovid is considered by many to be a permanent underdog in the coronavirus vaccine race.

Its development took longer than that of the two leading vaccines, Pfizer and BioNTech‘s Comirnaty and Modern‘s Spikevax. So by the time it received its authorizations, those competing jabs were already being widely administered. Consequently, Novavax as a developer continues to suffer by comparison to its faster-to-market rivals.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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