Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 07 Jul 2020
New York: Novavax, Inc, a late stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, on Tuesday announced that it has been selected to participate in Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a U.S. government program that aims to begin delivering millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021.
Novavax has been awarded $1.6 billion by the federal government to complete late-stage clinical development, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial; establish large-scale manufacturing; and deliver 100 million doses of NVX‑CoV2373, Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as early as late 2020. NVX‑CoV2373 consists of a stable, prefusion protein made using its proprietary nanoparticle technology and includes Novavax’ proprietary Matrix‑M™ adjuvant.
“The pandemic has caused an unprecedented public health crisis, making it more important than ever that industry, government and funding entities join forces to defeat the novel coronavirus together. We are honored to partner with Operation Warp Speed to move our vaccine candidate forward with extraordinary urgency in the quest to provide vital protection to our nation’s population,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax. “We are grateful to the U.S. government for its confidence in our technology platform, and are working tirelessly to develop and produce a vaccine for this global health crisis.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Novavax will demonstrate it can rapidly stand up large-scale manufacturing and transition into ongoing production, including the capability to stockpile and distribute large quantities of NVX-CoV2373 when needed. The agreement will fund the late-stage clinical studies necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of NVX-CoV2373, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects beginning in the fall of 2020.
“Adding Novavax’ candidate to Operation Warp Speed’s diverse portfolio of vaccines increases the odds that we will have a safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s $1.6 billion investment supports the Novavax candidate, depending on success in clinical trials, all the way through to manufacturing 100 million doses for the American people.”
Today’s agreement also allows for a follow-on agreement with the U.S. government for additional production and procurement to support OWS’ vaccine production goal.
This latest federal funding supports Novavax plans to file submissions for licensure with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A Phase 1/2 clinical trial of NVX-CoV2373 in 130 healthy participants 18 to 59 years of age began in Australia in May.
Preliminary immunogenicity and safety results are expected at the end of July, and the Phase 2 portion to assess immunity, safety, and COVID-19 disease reduction is expected to begin thereafter.
The Phase 1/2 clinical trial is being supported by an up-to $388 million funding arrangement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).