Waxart (NASDAQ: VXRT) rose to a stellar level when its shares rose 1,500% last year. Why the excitement?
The biotechnology company is developing coronavirus vaccine pills. Investors have realized that such a product can benefit those who click on the needles.
But the focus shifted from Waxart after the first clinical trial report. The candidate did not produce neutralizing antibodies, an element that is seen as the key to blocking infection. However, the investigative vaccine increased immunity in other ways. And Waxart continued to develop.
Recently, biotechnology began to be recruited for the second phase of testing. However, 56% of Americans are fully vaccinated, but now your question may be:
First, a little about the Vaxart program. In Phase 1, the company tested a candidate that targeted two coronavirus proteins: the spike protein used to infect the nucleocapsid, which is involved in transmitting the virus to cells in the body. As mentioned above, this candidate did not neutralize the production of antibodies.
For the second phase, the company selected a candidate who targeted only the coronavirus protein. In non-human studies in primates, this candidate resulted in higher levels of antibodies than the candidate targeting the two proteins.
Vaxart aims to recruit 96 volunteers in the United States. Half of them will be vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine, and the other half will be people who have not been vaccinated or infected with the virus. Vaxart plans to expand its second phase outside the US by the end of the year. It will be the first such site in India.
In more positive news for the company, a recent study of hamsters found that its vaccine candidate was reducing the transmission of coronavirus in the air. This is in response to a study in humans on the second phase of the Vaxart flu vaccine. The flu candidate reduced the viral outbreak more than the injectable flu vaccine.
This all sounds promising.
Vaxart Market Opportunity
Now let’s take a look at Vaxart’s market prospects. It is clear that the company missed the vaccines during the epidemic. Modern:, Pfizer:, և: Johnson & Johnson: shared that market.
Recently, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told CNBC that he expects the approval of coronavirus vaccines for children to mark the transition from an epidemic to an endemic stage. Naked plans to ask the candidate for permission to treat his pills soon. And Pfizer has demanded that its vaccine be approved for children between the ages of five and fifteen. Thus, the post-pandemic world may have only months left.
But that does not necessarily mean bad news for Vaxart or other latecomers. The coronavirus will still be there, so people still need protection. The situation can be similar to the flu situation. Will the virus come and go in certain areas on a continuous basis?
I expect countries to buy doses in advance each year. And most likely, people who get the annual flu vaccine will also get a coronavirus.
It is very possible that the latecomer will be able to gain market share. But to do that, the company must have an innovative, effective candidate. Otherwise, countries are likely to continue to order the vaccines they have already used, they know.
Vaxart is on the right track. As I said earlier, users will be happy to avoid the needle. But here is what is even more important. It will be easier for health care providers to keep a stable tablet at room temperature than an injectable vaccine. (For example, Moderna և Pfizer vaccines require cold temperatures).
This makes the potential Vaxart product a viable option for use anywhere in the world. And that means Vaxart can still benefit from sales despite its possible late arrival.
Should I Buy Vaxart?
Does this mean you have to buy Vaxart shares right now? It depends on your investment style. Vaxart has no commercialized products, but has six plans in place. And the most advanced is the candidate for the seasonal flu vaccine in the second round.
Companies in the clinical phase always present a certain degree of risk. Anything can happen during clinical trials, so there is no guarantee that product և revenue will be right around the corner. Therefore, it is better to invest in players like Vaxart only if you can accept this risk.
If you are a careful investor, it is better to wait until Vaxart comes to the finish line with at least one candidate. If you are more aggressive though, you may want to consider this company because of the game changing technology.
This article presents the opinion of a writer who may disagree with the position of the “official” offer of Motley Fool Premium Consulting. We are motley! Investigating an investment thesis, even our own, helps all of us think critically about investing, making decisions that will help us become smarter, happier, and richer.