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Why Novavax Stock Tumbled on Thursday

What happened

Coronavirus stock Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) was a bit sickly on Thursday. The biotech's shares declined by just over 2% on the day, a steeper fall than that suffered by the S&P 500 index. While the company had some good news to report, it wasn't enough to move the stock price upward.

So what

The latest development comes from over the Pacific Ocean, specifically Australia. After market hours on Wednesday, Novavax announced that the nation's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the provisional registration of NVX-CoV2373. That's the company's coronavirus vaccine, which holds either authorization or approval in a number of jurisdictions around the world.

Image source: Getty Images.

Novavax will be distributed in the Australian market under the brand name Nuvaxovid (in other Asia-Pacific markets, such as Indonesia, it is known as Covovax). In January 2021, the company and the Australian government signed an advance purchase agreement for 51 million doses of the vaccine. The initial doses supplied to the country will be manufactured by vaccine-making giant Serum Institute of India.

Now what

While any authorization or approval is an indisputable win for a biotech, Australia's move is the latest in a string of reminders that Novavax is mid-pack, at best, in the coronavirus vaccine race. While some of the jurisdictions in which it's won authorization/approval are significant -- the 27-country European Union being one -- the lineup is still rather patchy.

And significantly, it does not include the U.S.

At the end of last year, Novavax submitted its complete chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) data set to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but this comes after rival vaccines were authorized -- and, in the case of Pfizer and BioNTech's Comirnaty, approved. It seems that some investors still consider Novavax to be a coronavirus vaccine laggard.

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


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