Ladenburg Thalmann raised its price target for Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) to $3.50 from $2.50 after the company presented Phase 1/2 data suggesting its NanoFlu vaccine has the potential to be the most potent product for preventing flu, including the Singapore A strain that is expected to be a dominant strain for the 2019-2020 flu season.
Shares of Novavax closed at $2.17 on Feb. 28.
While details are embargoed for future publication, Novavax disclosed day-21 hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) geometric mean titers for three H3N2 strains, suggesting 47% to 64% increase in HAI, compared with active control.
These H3N2 strains accounted for 75% of U.S. hospitalization during the recent flu outbreak, according to CDC.
Analyst Kevin DeGeeter writes that the study compared NanoFlu to the most potent approved flu vaccine, FluZone HD. “As such, we believe these data offer a robust comparison to a best-available real world product,” he said. The adverse event profile was generally comparable to the FluZone HD.
In terms of next steps, Mr. DeGeeter said the company expects to enroll a Phase 2 quadrivalent study in the second half of 2018, with top line data early in 2019. If the FDA agrees to an immunogenicity endpoint for Phase 3 development, he said the registration study would be completed in the 2019-2020 North American influenza season.
“We believe the emerging product profile should be compelling for potential development partners and, in our view, could lead to business development prior to the end of 2018,” Mr. DeGeeter said.