Vaxart, Inc. (VXRT) has moved substantially higher recently based on high hopes for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
VXRT was chosen by the U.S. government for inclusion in Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the government’s national program with a goal of providing safe and effective vaccine doses by January of 2021. VXRT is one of a number of companies participating in OWS.
When announcing VXRT’s participation in the program, CEO Andrei Floroiu said, “We are very pleased to be one of the few companies selected by Operation Warp Speed, and that ours is the only oral vaccine being evaluated.”
Floroiu explained how Vaxart’s vaccine is unique, “COVID-19, is primarily transmitted by viral particles that enter through the mucosa – nose, mouth or eyes – strongly suggesting that mucosal immunity could serve as the first line of defense. In addition, our vaccine is a room temperature-stable tablet, an enormous logistical advantage in large vaccination campaigns.”
While news of the company’s inclusion in the program has been out for several weeks, VXRT leaped higher this week when a B. Riley FBR analysis of the vaccine, led the company to place a buy recommendation on the stock and give it a price target of $22. The stock closed last Friday at $7.98.
Should the Vaxart vaccine prove effective, it will be easier to distribute versus and injectable vaccine. As Vaxart points out in its press release, “Vaxart believes that a room temperature stable tablet vaccine is easier to distribute, store and administer than injectable vaccines and may provide significantly faster response to a pandemic than injectable vaccines, enabling a greater portion of the population to be protected.”
It should be noted that just before the B. Riley FBR buy recommendation, Vaxart raised over $90 million in an at-the-market stock offering, at a price of $7.98. That offering was led by SVB Leerink, with B. Riley FBR acting as co-lead sales agent.
Vaxart said, “The additional funds raised through the ATM facility will support the clinical and preclinical development of Vaxart’s product candidates, to conduct clinical trials, to manufacture its products, and for general corporate and working capital purposes.”
After the selling stock at $7.98, and following the B. Riley FBR buy recommendation, the stock has recently traded as high as $16.40.
Steven Adams’s personal position in Vaxart: none.