Novavax's vaccine rollout crawls amid months of broken promises — report
For Novavax, part of the big question surrounding the biotech was whether it could manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine — its first commercial product — properly, in sufficient quantity and deliver it on time.
With months of delays due to filings and manufacturing concerns, the answer to that question might just be no. The newest development for the biotech marks the latest in missed deadlines and broken pledges for the company — and the CEO who has a multitude on his record.
As we wrote previously, Novavax’s CEO Stanley Erck had told analysts that “we’re talking weeks here, not months” on a EUA submission to the FDA on August 5. Three months later, the company changed its tune and punted the timeline to the end of 2021. And on New Year’s Eve? They said they expect to submit a request for EUA in one month — which made that promise a real-life example of “third time’s the charm” as they actually met that deadline last week.
And now, there are reports of massive shipping delays.
Novavax $NVAX is feeling the heat from investors — with shares tumbling down more than 10% this morning after closing yesterday at $94.80 a share and at one point, dipping below $80 a share.
Onto the news: Novavax has only delivered a tiny percentage of the 2 billion Covid-19 shots it planned to send around the world this year, according to Reuters — about 10 million shots in total. The biotech has also delayed first-quarter shipments in Europe and lower-income countries such as the Philippines, which has not received any of the 30 million shots it had ordered.
Novavax senior spokesperson Amy Speak told Reuters that some shipments have been held up by regulatory processes and are waiting in a distribution warehouse to go to healthcare providers.
Shipments to the EU, Indonesia and the Philippines were held back by a series of factors, according to officials who spoke with Reuters — including late regulatory approval from the WHO, export limitations on Novavax’s production partner in India, the Serum Institute, and delayed approval from European regulators for individual vaccine batches, who must examine the shots before they can be distributed.
The company has also yet to deliver vaccine doses on its largest contract for Covax — with 1.1 billion doses expected, which would make Novavax its third-largest supplier, Reuters said — citing business data and analytics firm GlobalData Plc.
While Novavax did not provide a timeline for Covax, the biotech said it expects to deliver around 80 million doses to Covax by the end of the quarter, which is less than 10% of what is listed on their contract.