Gaithersburg-based Novavax reports first profitable quarter, but its stock sinks

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax posted its first profitable quarter as a commercial stage company, but its quarterly revenue fell short of expectations, sending its stock down as much as 20% in Tuesday trading.

Novavax shipped 31 million doses of its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine last quarter, putting it short of its previously-stated goal for 2022, but the company reaffirmed its 2022 revenue guidance of between $4 billion and $5 billion.

For the quarter, Novavax had $704 million in revenue, mostly from its COVID vaccine sales, as well as ongoing royalty payments, up from $447 million in revenue a year earlier. The average estimate for quarterly revenue was $806 million, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Its net income was $203 million, compared to a net loss of $223 million in the same quarter last year.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will review Novavax’s application for Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID vaccine in the U.S. next month, more than five months after it filed for approval.

While its vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been on hold, it has continued to distribute the vaccine in several other countries that have approved it for use in adults.

Novavax recently released results of clinical trials with adolescents, showing positive efficacy. It has applied for use in teenagers in the U.K., and it is already approved for use in adolescents in India.

The Novavax vaccine can be stored at higher refrigeration temperatures than the mRNA vaccines currently approved. Because it is a traditional protein-based vaccine, the company has said those hesitant to get the mRNA vaccines might be more willing to get its shot.

Novavax is also developing a combination vaccine for COVID-19 and influenza.

Novavax, which received $1.6 billion from the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program to develop its COVID vaccine in 2020, has been on a wild ride on Wall Street in the past three years. Before the pandemic, its stock was trading for less than $3 a share. It had reached more than $200 a share in early 2021, and Tuesday hit a 52-week low of around $44 per share.

Novavax was founded in 1987 and went public in 1995. Before the COVID pandemic, the company had built its business developing other vaccines, including Ebola, influenza and respiratory viruses. Much of its revenue comes through research grants, royalties and payments from licensing partners.

Later this year, Novavax will move to a much larger headquarters and research and development campus in Gaithersburg.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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