Novavax and Sanofi to commercialize Covid vaccine, develop combo shots

A well being employee prepares a dose of the Novavax vaccine because the Dutch Well being Service Group begins with the Novavax vaccination program on March 21, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Patrick Van Katwijk | Getty Photos

Novavax on Friday stated it has signed a multibillion-dollar take care of French drugmaker Sanofi to co-commercialize the corporate’s Covid vaccine beginning subsequent 12 months and develop mixture pictures concentrating on the coronavirus and the flu, amongst different efforts. 

Shares of Novavax closed practically 100% larger on Friday from their earlier day shut of $4.47 apiece.

The licensing settlement will permit Novavax to raise its “going concern” warning, which it first issued in February 2023 attributable to having doubts about its capability to proceed working, Novavax CEO John Jacobs advised CNBC in an interview. 

It marks a turning level for the struggling vaccine maker and its protein-based Covid shot. Well being officers view the vaccine as a worthwhile different for individuals who do not need to take messenger RNA jabs from Pfizer and Moderna

A part of the deal permits Sanofi to make use of Novavax’s Covid shot and flagship vaccine expertise, Matrix-M adjuvant, to develop new vaccine merchandise. Sanofi can pay Novavax an upfront cost of $500 million and as much as $700 million in funds for growth, regulatory and launch milestones.

Novavax can also be entitled to royalty funds on Sanofi’s gross sales of its Covid vaccine and mixture pictures concentrating on coronavirus and the flu. Novavax will even obtain further launch and gross sales milestone funds of as much as $200 million, together with royalties, for every product Sanofi develops with Matrix-M adjuvant.

Below the deal, Sanofi will even take a lower than 5% stake in Novavax. 

“It actually does assist our enterprise. It retains us effectively capitalized, it takes the going concern off, it offers us the possibility to pivot our technique extra in direction of what we’re finest at — to convey further worth to all of our stakeholders, together with our shareholders,” Jacobs advised CNBC. 

The deal additionally will assist the corporate fulfill its mission of enhancing world public well being with its vaccine expertise platform “at a tempo and a scale that we may have by no means performed if we stored all of it to ourselves” attributable to a scarcity of sources, capital and scope, Jacobs stated. 

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Novavax shares spike on Sanofi deal.

Deal phrases

Novavax will lead the commercialization of its Covid shot for the remainder of this 12 months and can switch most of that duty to Sanofi in 2025. Sanofi will not oversee commercialization in international locations that Novavax has current partnership agreements with, together with India, Japan and South Korea, together with nations with superior Covid vaccine buy agreements with the corporate.

Jacobs stated Sanofi, as a big pharmaceutical firm, may improve the market share and presence of Novavax’s Covid vaccine, which is able to broaden affected person entry to the shot. 

The deal additionally permits Sanofi to develop merchandise that mix its flu shot or different in-house vaccines with Novavax’s Covid jab. Sanofi may also use Novavax’s Matrix-M adjuvant to develop new vaccine merchandise. 

Notably, Sanofi might be solely liable for the event and commercialization of any mixture shot containing its flu vaccine and Novavax’s Covid shot. 

“By this settlement with a world chief like Sanofi, not solely in commercialization but additionally in growth, we imagine that this multiplies immensely the chance to convey forth a number of new vaccines way more shortly,” Jacobs stated. 

Outdoors of the deal, Novavax expects to start out a late-stage trial by itself mixture vaccine concentrating on Covid and the flu and its stand-alone flu shot later this 12 months. Beforehand, Novavax stated that trial would solely embrace the mixture vaccine. 

“Now our section three trial, that we’re on observe to provoke within the second half of this 12 months, will not simply have one potential licensable vaccine ought to we succeed, however it’s going to have two,” Jacob stated, noting the deal “frees up prices” and “opens up our personal natural pipeline.” 

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