Vaxart, Inc. VXRT announced that its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been selected for investigation in a non-human primate (NHP) challenge study. The new study will be organized and funded by Operation Warp Speed (OWS), which is a new national program, to provide substantial quantities of safe, effective vaccine for Americans by January 2021.
Notably, the OWS aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine against COVID-19 by January 2021 as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
Per the press release, this is the first oral COVID-19 vaccine, which will be tested by OWS in non-human primates. The study is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of the oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Shares of Vaxart were up 28.4% following the above announcement on Friday. In fact, the stock has skyrocketed 2193.9% so far this year against the industry’s decrease of 6.6%.
Per a New York Times report, earlier this month, the Trump administration identified five companies, which are most likely to be successful in making vaccines to prevent COVID-19.
As part of the OWS initiative to rapidly develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the administration narrowed down to five promising candidates from an extensive list of probables, currently being developed by around a dozen companies.
The five shortlisted companies are Moderna MRNA, the partnership between Oxford University and AstraZeneca AZN, J&J JNJ, Merck and Pfizer.
The report mentioned that the five companies will get extra federal funds to run their clinical studies and manufacturing assistance.
We remind investors that in April 2020, Vaxart announced favorable data from pre-clinical studies on its oral vaccine candidates against SARS CoV-2 virus. Several vaccine candidates were able to generate immune responses after a single dose in all the animals under the studies was tested.
Notably, last month, Vaxart selected its lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate and signed a contract with KindredBio to manufacture vaccines in bulk under cGMP to complement the manufacturing capacity of its partner Emergent BioSolutions.
Vaxart has a manufacturing agreement with Emergent BioSolutions wherein the latter will produce the clinical material for the company’s experimental oral vaccine candidates against COVID-19.
Vaxart currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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