Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a late stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, announced the signing of a non-binding Heads of Terms document with the Australian Government to supply 40 million doses of the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, for the Australian community.
Australia has played a pivotal role in the clinical development program for NVX-CoV2373. Australian clinical researchers led the global Phase 1 clinical trial in August. This trial involved 131 Australians across two trial sites (Melbourne and Brisbane). In addition, approximately 690 Australians have participated in the Phase 2 arm of the clinical trial, which has been conducted across up to 40 sites in Australia and the U.S.
NVX-CoV2373 is a vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. NVX-CoV2373 was created using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and contains Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. NVX-CoV2373 contains purified protein antigen and cannot replicate, nor can it cause COVID-19. In preclinical trials, NVX-CoV2373 demonstrated induction of antibodies that block binding of spike protein to receptors targeted by the virus, a critical aspect for effective vaccine protection. In the Phase 1 portion of its Phase 1/2 clinical trial, NVX-CoV2373 was generally well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera. NVX-CoV2373 is also being evaluated in a Phase 3 trial in the UK and two ongoing Phase 2 studies that began in August; a Phase 2b trial in South Africa, and a Phase 1/2 continuation in the U.S. and Australia. Novavax has secured $2 billion in funding for its global coronavirus vaccine program, including up to $388 million in funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Novavax' patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant has demonstrated a potent and well-tolerated effect by stimulating the entry of antigen presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in local lymph nodes, boosting immune response.
Novavax is progressing large-scale manufacturing of NVX-CoV2373 across multiple locations around the world. Delivery of initial doses of the vaccine is expected as early as the end of this year, with the goal to expand the production to enable delivery of over 2 billion doses annually, once all production is online.