NVAX Stock: 2022 Could be a Success or a Lost Opportunity for Novavax

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) has had a tough year with losses of approximately 68%. It has already declined about 37% year-to-date, as well. However, as of Feb. 3, 2022, the stock has a 5-day return of nearly 25%. This increased volatility in the stock price is primarily news-driven.

Concept of vaccine against COVID-19. Glass medical vials with liquid. Ampoules with coronavirus vaccine on a medical glass table

Source: vovidzha / Shutterstock.com

Novavax is trying to become active in the global industry of vaccines against the coronavirus to put an end to the pandemic so all of us can return to normal conditions at which social distancing will be a distant memory, along with wearing face masks.

Novavax Business News

The latest business news is that Novavax got conditional authorization in the U.K for its protein-based Covid-19 vaccine called Nuvaxovid. It is reported that “the U.K. has already ordered up to 60 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine.”

The company announced that it filed for authorization in the U.S. market in late Jan. 2022. Novavax has been granted provisional registration for its vaccine in Australia. Additionally, in South Korea, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved the firm’s vaccine. At the same time the “European Commission (EC) has granted Novavax conditional marketing authorization (CMA) for Nuvaxovid™ COVID-19 Vaccine (recombinant, adjuvanted) for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 in individuals 18 years of age and older.”

Novavax also submitted for emergency use authorization of its vaccine in South Africa.

A lot of this news is a catalyst for NVAX stock. The greatest impact on the stock probably would be U.S. market approval for Nuvaxovid. Investors waiting for further positive news are already building a bull case for Novavax.

Bullish Scenario for NVAX Stock

Novavax’s vaccine is the fifth vaccine approved by the E.U. Protein vaccines like Nuvaxovid can do a lot for the global vaccination campaign. This is because they work differently from the vaccines currently available in the E.U., which are based on either mRNA technology, such as Pfizer and Moderna, or viral vector technology, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

If unvaccinated people are not biased against vaccination to protect from Covid-19, they could soon be vaccinated with protein vaccines such as Nuvaxovid. Such protein vaccines have been used for decades to protect against polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, and the flu. They also offer very good protection against coronavirus and cause even fewer side effects than vaccines that are already approved.

Also, these vaccines are important. Richer countries are so preoccupied with booster vaccinations and closing vaccination gaps that they may forget that in poor countries very few people have been vaccinated.

Protein-based vaccines could also make a significant contribution to the market. They are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be transported and stored at 2° to 8° C much more easily than mRNA vaccines, which need to be frozen.

Novavax will first supply its vaccine in poorer countries like Africa. The Novavax vaccine is a combination vaccine that is said to protect against the coronavirus and the flu at the same time. According to Novavax, initially, 100 million doses of the vaccine could be produced per month. They later expect to be able to produce 150 million doses of the vaccine per month.

Europe being supplied with Nuvaxovid is certainly big news for Novavax. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may become biased and send the green light for the biotechnology company to boost its sales, especially if its price is cheaper than other vaccines.

Bearish Case for NVAX Stock

Third quarter (Q3) 2021 financial results showed a year-over-year increase of 14% for revenue to $179 million and a 38% increase of total expenses to $486 million. Loss from operations widened to $307 million compared to a loss of $194 million in Q3 2020. Net loss also widened to $322 million compared to a net loss of $197 million in Q3 2020.

The firm has poor financial strength as the debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio of 0.70 is considered high for a money-losing business that has been burning cash over the past five consecutive years.

Another negative sign for NVAX stock is that shareholders have been substantially diluted in the past year, with total shares outstanding growing by 137.4%.

Novavax: At an Inflection Point Now

The company has positive news that sparks enthusiasm. The broader fundamental analysis, however, is not supportive of the company. Widening losses and burning cash must be addressed fast and radically for a stock price rebound to occur and last.

I remain bearish on NVAX stock, waiting for sales updates as the key catalyst.

On the date of publication, Stavros Georgiadis, CFA  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.

Stavros Georgiadis is a CFA charter holder, an Equity Research Analyst, and an Economist. He focuses on U.S. stocks and has his own stock market blog at thestockmarketontheinternet.com/. He has written in the past various articles for other publications and can be reached on Twitter and on LinkedIn.   

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