Novavax, already a fundraising star, gins up another $200M for vaccine work

Amid the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax has been busy fundraising and inking deals to prepare for a manufacturing scale-up. That work continued Monday with the company’s $200 million raise through a private placement.

In the deal with life sciences investment firm RA Capital, Novavax agreed to sell nearly 4.4 million shares at Friday’s closing price of $45.57. The funding provides the biotech “the capacity to execute on our critical priority of providing a vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible” and to submit NanoFlu for FDA review, CEO Stanley Erck said in a statement.

Aside from its closely watched COVID-19 vaccine work, Novavax recently finished a phase 3 trial of the NanoFlu shot.

The Monday deal follows two other recent cash infusions. The first came in the form of a commitment of up to $384 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the group’s largest deal ever at the time. Then, after The New York Times reported the company was left off the list of Operation Warp Speed finalists, the company scored a $60 million Department of Defense (DOD) contract. Under that deal, Novavax will deliver 10 million doses of the vaccine to the DOD this year.

Even as the company advances its COVID-19 vaccine candidate through testing, it’s eyeing steps needed to produce doses at a commercial scale. In late May, the company purchased Czech manufacturer Praha Vaccines for $167 million. Days later, the company enlisted Japan’s AGC Biologics for help producing its vaccine-boosting Matrix-M adjuvant.

Aside from Novavax, some of the biggest companies in the biopharma industry are involved in COVID-19 vaccine R&D. Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Merck and Moderna were reportedly selected as Warp Speed finalists.

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