Gaithersburg’s Novavax plunges after disappointing drug trial

WASHINGTON — Stock in Gaithersburg, Maryland-based vaccine maker Novavax plunged nearly 85 percent in Friday trading after reporting disappointing late-stage clinical trial results for one of its drug candidates.

Novavax said Phase 3 trials for a drug to treat a lower respiratory tract disease did not meet primary or secondary objectives and did not demonstrate vaccine efficacy.

The human trials were conducted at 60 locations in the U.S..

The vaccine, called Resolve, is being developed for the prevention of RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease.

“We are both surprised and disappointed by the outcome of the Resolve trial,” said Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax.

RSV is shorthand for respiratory syncytial virus, which causes cold-like symptoms and can lead to more serious infections like pneumonia. Novavax’ s current clinical trials were testing its vaccine for effectiveness in preventing and treating RSV in older adults.

The news is a big setback for Novavax. which is in aggressive growth mode to keep up with its expanding pipeline of vaccine candidates.

Earlier this year, the company announced expansion plans for a new Montgomery County campus, including an additional 850 jobs, more than tripling its Gaithersburg workforce.

Novavax stock (NASDAQ: NVAX) fell $7.05, or 84.5 percent, to $1.29 per share in Friday trading. Before Friday’s selloff, Novavax stock had rallied 25 percent in the past three months.

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