Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer Novavax has at times gone under the radar as a number of the world’s leading Pharma companies made headlines and raced towards rollouts. But a mouthwatering supply deal with international players will certainly turn heads.
Novavax on Feb. 17 announced a memorandum of understanding with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to provide 1.1 billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate to COVAX, a global push to promote equitable vaccine distribution. The Serum Institute of India will help manufacture doses under an earlier deal between that company and Gavi.
The agreement will support work by Gavi, World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to distribute doses in every country globally.
Gavi and Novavax are working to complete an advance purchase deal. Seth Berkley, Gavi’s CEO, noted in a statement: “the deal brings the COVAX Facility one step closer to its goal of supplying vaccines globally and ending the acute phase of the pandemic.” Gavi expects to deliver 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines in 2021, he added.
As part of its effort to make the vaccine available globally, Novavax licensed its tech to the Serum Institute “with no upfront, milestone or technology transfer payments.”
Under the COVAX deal, Novavax aims to provide doses for high-income markets, while Serum Institute will produce doses for other countries.
Although Novavax has yet to achieve emergency authorizations for its vaccine, many market analysts have touted the vaccine’s data against prominent rivals. After the company published phase 3 data last month, Evercore ISI analyst Josh Schimmer wrote to clients that he views Novavax as the “vaccine to beat.” The vaccine features “strong potency and unique tolerability,” he noted.
The shot posted efficacy of 89.3% in a phase 3 trial in the U.K. despite issues from a new variant circulating there. Efficacy was lower in a different trial in South Africa.
Along its development path, the vaccine has won backing from the U.S. government and CEPI. Novavax also has a $1.6 billion deal with the U.S. government to provide 100 million doses.