Novavax has spent much of 2020 advancing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate through early-stage testing and preparing for manufacturing and distribution. And thanks to the promise of that vaccine and a separate flu program, the company is expanding its Maryland campus.
The biotech unveiled two new real estate transactions Monday aimed bolstering its R&D, manufacturing and commercial presence. First, it entered a 15-year lease for about 122,000 square feet of offices on Quince Orchard Road in Gaithersburg, Maryland, for manufacturing, office space and R&D activities. Novavax plans to have the site ready to use early next year.
Second, an affiliate of the company purchased 9.7 acres on Firstfield Road in Gaithersburg for future development. State, local and county governments provided development incentives for the moves.
The deals come as Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, undergoes late-stage testing in a U.K. trial that started in September. The company is also gearing up for a large phase 3 trial in the U.S. and Mexico later this month.
Aside from its COVID-19 work, Novavax has spent years advancing its flu vaccine NanoFlu. After a positive phase 3 study comparing the vaccine with Sanofi’s Fluzone read out in March, Novavax said it would take the program to the FDA for a potential approval.
Much of the focus for the company in 2020 has been its pandemic work, of course. Novavax has scored up to $2 billion in funding for its vaccine program from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the U.S. government, and it’s been inking manufacturing partnerships to help with its production scale-up.
While the vaccine isn’t among a group of the leading front-runners, Novavax has said it could post efficacy early data in the first quarter of 2021. Last week, Novavax said manufacturing issues forced it to slightly delay its planned U.S. phase 3 trial.