(RTTNews) - Shares of Vaxart Inc. (VXRT) have gained an impressive 265 percent so far this year on hopes of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Vaxart is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing oral recombinant vaccines administered by tablet. The Company's oral vaccines are based on its proprietary oral vaccine platform known as VAAST and are designed to activate the immune system of the gut, generating broad systemic and local responses.
Last month, the Company initiated a program to develop a coronavirus vaccine candidate based on its proprietary VAAST platform.
Since the coronavirus is primarily an infection of the respiratory tract, an effective vaccine for coronavirus should enhance mucosal immune responses. In multiple clinical trials, Vaxart's investigational oral tablet vaccines have consistently generated robust mucosal responses in humans.
The Company's lead asset is H1 influenza oral tablet vaccine, which successfully completed a phase II study in 2018. In the study, Vaxart's oral tablet influenza vaccine generated a 39 percent reduction in clinical disease relative to placebo, compared to a 27 percent reduction by Sanofi's Fluzone.
Vaxart has a research collaboration agreement with Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. that was signed last July, under which Vaxart-Janssen oral vaccine is tested in a pre-clinical challenge model. Results are expected in the first half of this year.
Next up in the pipeline is a phase II-ready oral norovirus vaccine, with a potential $3 billion-plus market opportunity.
The topline results from a phase Ib safety, immunogenicity, and interference study with the oral tableted bivalent norovirus vaccine in healthy adults, reported last September, were promising. A phase II dose confirmation study of the oral norovirus vaccine is planned for 2020.
Recent Quarterly Scorecard:
For the third quarter ended September 30, 2019, the results of which were announced last November, Vaxart's net loss narrowed to $5.3 million or $0.32 per share from $6.5 million or $0.92 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Revenue for the third quarter of 2019 was $454,000 compared to $281,000 in the third quarter of 2018. Revenue includes royalties on the net sales of Relenza and Inavir in Japan. GlaxoSmithKline markets Relenza while Daiichi Sankyo markets Inavir in Japan.
Vaxart ended September 30, 2019, with cash and cash equivalents of $19.6 million.
VXRT has traded in a range of $0.25 to $5.00 in the last 1 year. The stock closed Friday's trading at $1.28, up 17.43%.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.