Dr. Sonia Macieiewski (R) and Dr. Nita Patel, director of antibody discovery and vaccine development, are examining a sample of a respiratory virus, one of the labs for which a vaccine is being developed for the coronavirus COVID-19, on March 20, 2020 at the Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
Novavax did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. Under the agreement, the UK will work with the company on its Phase 3 clinical trial, which is expected to begin this quarter. The potential vaccine, named NVX-CoV2373, is being tested on around 9,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 85, according to the company.
Novavax shares rose more than 8% in midday trading.
“We are honored to work with the UK government to deliver a vaccine that could provide crucial protection in the fight against the global health crisis,” said Stanley Erck, CEO of Novavax, in a press release on Friday. “Our Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK will be an important component in evaluating the efficacy of NVX-CoV2373, which has already been shown to be generally well tolerated in a Phase 1 study and produces robust antibody responses.”
The company already has a contract with the US government. Last month the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative announced it would pay Novavax $ 1.6 billion Develop and manufacture the potential vaccine with an aim of delivering 100 million doses by early next year.
Novavax’s vaccine contains synthesized parts of the surface protein that the coronavirus uses to infect humans.
Last week the company announced its potential vaccine generated a promising immune response in an early clinical study of 131 healthy participants.
The vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies that researchers believe are necessary to build immunity to the virus and killer T cells, the company said. In addition, the vaccine appeared to be well tolerated with no serious adverse events reported.
Novavax is one of several companies that want to develop a vaccine against the virus infected more than 20.9 million people worldwide At least 760,000 people were killed on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University. There are More than 150 vaccines are in development worldwidey, according to the World Health Organization, with at least 26 already in human studies.
Pharmaceutical company late last month Pfizer and Moderna Both announced that they have started their late-stage trials of potential coronavirus vaccines. These studies will involve approximately 30,000 participants.
Health officials expect to know if any of the many vaccines under development will be safe and effective by the end of this year or early 2021.