Novavax cut $50 million in costs, plans to slash more, CEO says

Patrick Wingrove Wed, April 12, 2023, 3:26 PM EDT (YAHOO!)

By Patrick Wingrove

(Reuters) -Novavax Inc cut about $50 million in costs in the first quarter of 2023 and plans to slash more, Chief Executive John Jacobs said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We’re looking at everything from buildings, leases, land, headcount, and contractors, every aspect of our company and the way we work,” he told Reuters.

Jacobs also said the company is in regular talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the potential design of its 2023 COVID-19 booster shot, and believes Novavax will have a new shot ready in time for the fall.

Novavax, whose COVID-19 vaccine is its lone marketed product after 35 years in business, is relying on an updated COVID shot, cost cutting, and Phase 2 data on its COVID/influenza combination vaccine due in the coming weeks to stay afloat.

The company’s stock plunged to a three-year low in March after the Maryland-based vaccine maker in late February raised doubts about its ability to remain in business, flagging uncertainty around its 2023 revenue, funding from the U.S. government, and pending arbitration with global vaccine alliance Gavi.

Novavax shares ended the day unchanged at $9.04 on Wednesday. They were trading above $76 in early July.

Jacobs said Novavax would seek funding for its COVID/influenza combination shot, including a potential partnership, depending on whether the upcoming data is positive.

The CEO added that the company did not expect to launch its individual flu vaccine this year, and will focus on the COVID vaccine.

Novavax, which missed out on the pandemic vaccine windfall enjoyed by rivals Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, is preparing for changes to the way next generation COVID vaccines will be rolled out. Global regulators expect vaccination campaigns to be conducted once a year, similar to annual flu inoculations.

Jacobs said conversations on strain selection with the FDA and other global regulators would help it manufacture its protein-based COVID booster shot much faster than it would otherwise have been able to.

(Reporting by Patrick Wingrove Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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