With Covid-19 vaccination rates slowing around the world, now is not the time to buy biotechnology company Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) stock.
NVAX stock fell 10% between July 20 and July 27 as hope fades that the company will be able to get its Covid-19 vaccine to market in time to capitalize on demand for immunization against the deadly respiratory disease.
Novavax’s share price has now declined 23% since the end of April and is 37% below its 52-week high reached in early February of this year. While the stock remains up 63% on the year, most of those gains occurred in early January when Covid-19 infection rates globally were at their peak.
With NVAX stock continuing to slide backwards, investors would be best advised to remain on the sidelines for the time being.
Targeting Developing Countries
Novavax is, for sure, late to the Covid-19 vaccination party. The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company continues to wait for emergency use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
While the company is confident it will eventually secure Emergency Use Authorization based on the results of its late-stage clinical trial, it is not clear when the FDA will actually approve Novavax’s shot. The latest from the company is that it hopes to receive FDA approval sometime in the current third quarter.
Meanwhile, vaccination rates in developed countries such as the U.S., England and Canada appear to be plateauing as more than half the population in those countries has gotten vaccinated against Covid-19. Inoculations have slowed dramatically as people who want or are able to get vaccinated have done so using the vaccines developed by Novavax rivals Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA).
Novavax is pinning its hopes on contracts it has to supply 1.1 billion doses of its vaccine to developing countries such as India, Pakistan and throughout Africa. The company also points to ongoing discussions it is having with countries such as Japan, which could potentially order 150 million doses of its vaccine. Regardless, Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine does not look likely to be rolled out in the near term and is unlikely to have a material impact on the company’s 2021 earnings.
The company might have more success with the vaccine it is developing to simultaneously treat both Covid-19 and influenza (the flu). Or in providing people with Covid-19 booster shots.
Aside from its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Novavax is focused on developing treatments for infectious diseases. The company currently has a total of eight vaccine candidates in its pipeline, in addition to its Covid-19 vaccine. However, only its flu vaccine, called NanoFlu, is close to being ready to present to the FDA for approval. NanoFlu has reported positive data from a Phase 3 clinical trial carried out last year, though regulatory approval is not guaranteed.
While Novavax has its own production facilities in the Czech Republic and Sweden, it primarily rents those out to other pharmaceutical companies to produce their vaccines and medicines. It also bears repeating that Novavax has been a going concern since 1987 but has yet to successfully bring even one vaccine to market. Given its track record and the current state of its pipeline, investors should not hold out hope for a breakthrough product any time soon.
Don’t Buy NVAX Stock
Buying Novavax stock on the way down is not advisable, especially since it is not clear where the share price might bottom. Wall Street has clearly grown impatient waiting on FDA approval of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine, and the product pipeline does not inspire confidence.
While the median price target on the stock is $272 a share, implying a potential 40% gain from current levels, that increase is based almost entirely on the company securing FDA approval and being able to meet the forecasted sales targets of its Covid-19 vaccine. Right now, none of that has happened.
Until it does, investors shouldn’t buy NVAX stock.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.