Vaxart VXRT Stock News

Vaxart Inc (NASDAQ: VXRT) is making a run for the top in the market this morning, trading on gains of more than 30%. The gains come after the company announced that it has entered into a development and manufacturing agreement centered around its coronavirus vaccine candidate. Here’s what’s happening:

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VXRT Rockets On Development And Manufacturing Partnership

Vaxart is one of the many companies that are working to produce a vaccine for COVID-19. Importantly, the company is developing the only oral vaccine candidate as other vaccines must be injected.

Early this morning, VXRT said that it has entered into an agreement with Emergent BioSolutions. Under the agreement, Emergent will deploy its molecule-to-market contract development and manufacturing services. The goal is to help develop the oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

As part of the agreement, development services will begin immediately. Also, when VXRT gives the thumbs up, Emergent will produce the vaccine in bulk allowing for the initiation of a Phase 1 study early in the second half of 2020.

In a statement, Wouter Latour, MD, CEO at Vaxart, had the following to offer:

I’m pleased that we are joining forces with an experienced manufacturer such as Emergent to help advance our oral COVID-19 vaccine to the clinic. We believe an oral vaccine administered using a room temperature-stable tablet may offer enormous logistical advantages in the roll-out of a large vaccination campaign, and Emergent is a great partner to help in this endeavor.

The above statement was followed up by Syed T. Husain, SVP and CDMO business unit head for Emergent BioSolutions. Here’s what he had to say:

Emergent is pleased to deploy our nimble CDMO expertise to support fellow innovators, like Vaxart, and advance an experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We look forward to applying our broad molecule-to-market services, including our ability to work with a multitude of delivery systems, execute under expedited timelines, and meet Vaxart’s potential need for future scalability and large-scale capacity for commercial quantities.

This News Is Overwhelmingly Exciting

There’s plenty to be excited about here. After all, the novel coronavirus is a very real issue with very real consequences that we are seeing as we speak. Over 200,000 people around the world have been infected, leading to more than 8,000 deaths. Governments are shutting down schoos, quarantining cities, and putting as many measures in place as possible to put an end to the spread.

Of course, in times of a pandemic, a vaccine is overwhelmingly valuable. However, just creating a vaccine isn’t enough. VXRT has to be able to produce enough of the vaccine to go into testing and to be used on a commercial scale. The announcement today puts that piece of the puzzle in its spot.

The company also has a key competitive advantage here. Sure, there are tons of companies that are working to produce a coronavirus vaccine. However, this is the only company that is working to develop an oral vaccine.

Think about it, when you go to get vaccinated, would you rather have an injection put into your arm or would you rather be handed a pill. As I am among the population that has a serious fear of needles, I’m on the latter side of the fence. This competitive advantage could be key when the product hits the market.

All in all, VXRT seems to be getting its ducks in a row and becoming one of the few leaders in the coronavirus vaccine space.

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