Novavax bosses cash out profits with vaccine trials under way

Photo: EPA Stanley Erck

Some top executives at US pharmaceutical company Novavax have started selling some of their stocks in a bid to capitalize on positive outlook amid on-going trials of the firm’s Covid-19 vaccine, Reuters reported.

Novavax chief executive Stanley Erck and three of his top managers have sold some $46 million worth of company stock since the start of last year. According to a Reuters review of securities filings the sales were focused on profit taking from a 3,000% rally in Novavax shares fueled by investors betting on the success of the shot under development.

Erck cashed out $8,7 million over the course of 2020. The stock sale amounts to more than 20% of his vested stake in Novavax, or less than 10% if stock.

There is no certainty yet that Novavax, which has yet to bring a vaccine to market, will be successful. The company has become a key contender in a global race to develop vaccines against Covid-19 thanks to $1,6 billion in taxpayer funding it received under the U.S. government’s “Operation Warp Speed” programme.

The company was worth only $250 million until about a year ago, when news of its experimental vaccine and its participation in Operation Warp Speed drove its valuation up to as much as $11 billion.

Novavax has announced that it had begun a late-stage trial of its Covid-19 vaccine in the United States, after delaying it twice due to issues in scaling up its manufacturing. It expects to see the results from another late-stage trial, in the United Kingdom, sometime in the first quarter of 2021.

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