Gaithersburg’s Novavax to cut 25% of its workforce

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax, whose COVID-19 vaccine was late in getting into the market, announced a series of cost reductions, including eliminating 25% of its workforce, but also announced positive results for its experimental combination COVID-influenza vaccine.

Investors rallied the company’s stock on both announcements.

The restructuring will eliminate about 500 jobs, based on its most recent head count. It will also slash its research and development spending. Novavax said its global restructuring plan will reduce its annual expenses by 40% to 50%.

“Reducing our workforce has been a difficult decision, but we believe it was necessary to better align our infrastructure and scale to the endemic COVID opportunity,” said CEO John Jacobs in a statement.

Novavax said it would also consolidate facilities and infrastructure, but offered no details of the impact on its Maryland operations. It also has U.S. operations in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as well as a presence in Germany and Switzerland.

In Phase 2 clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of different formulations of the combination vaccine, it was reported as “was well-tolerated, demonstrated a reassuring preliminary safety profile, and had reactogenicity” comparable to existing vaccines, the company said. Immune response was also robust, it said.

News of the cost cutting and advancement of the combination vaccine sent Novavax stock up as much as 50% in Tuesday trading. Its stock had lost almost 90% of its value in the last year.

Novavax also reported quarterly results on Tuesday. First quarter revenue was $81 million, down from $704 million in the same quarter a year ago. It lost $294 million in the first quarter, compared to net income of $203 million in the first quarter of 2022.

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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