JPM23: Novavax hopes end of COVID emergency—and open vaccine market—will help it grow market share

It took Novavax’s COVID vaccine a while to arrive, and now that it’s here, the company’s commercial chief thinks it could nab 30% of the market—as soon as the government contracts that have defined the pandemic years fade away.

Chief commercial officer and chief business officer John Trizzino told the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference crowd Monday evening that the company is eyeing the end of the public health emergency, which is likely to come in April, as a new starting point to tackle the market. At that point, the COVID vaccine market would shift from a government purchasing model to a private, “normal” commercial marketplace, he said.

“You'll begin to see private purchasing taking place that will open up the market to us so that we're not bound by whatever decisions the U.S. government is making,” Trizzino said.

The Nuvaxovid shot won regulatory nods in the EU, the U.K., Australia and South Korea before finally securing a much-coveted emergency use authorization as a booster in the U.S. in July 2022.

Novavax has benefited plenty from government contracts, with $2.4 billion of potential revenue tied up in advanced purchase agreements with various governments that were signed in 2021, according to Trizzino. These agreements were signed with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe, he explained. Those deals are “the foundation for some revenue generation” in 2023 and 2024.

As CEO Stanley Erck noted earlier in his presentation, the authorization of Nuvaxovid made Novavax into a commercial company after more than three decades of R&D work. 

With the COVID public health emergency withdrawn, Novavax could go directly to pharmacy chains, integrated delivery networks, physician markets and others to “pre-book” into the market, Trizzino said. What that means is a new way to tap into billions of dollars in potential value. Trizzino estimated the global annual revenue potential for Novavax's shot to be around $15 billion to $18 billion. Novavax is specifically zeroing in on the U.S. and EU markets, where the executive vice president estimates $10 billion of potential revenue is waiting.

“We would reasonably expect that even under kind of flat competitive conditions from a product profile perspective, that it's easy for us to envision some 25 to 30% market share that would grow over the next couple of years, relative to those market opportunities,” Trizzino said.

The company already has commercial deployment happening across the Americas, the EU, U.K., and work is escalating in the Asia Pacific. Other locations where work is underway include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Trizzino’s remarks came the same day that Novavax announced the retirement of long-time CEO Erck, who made his final JPM presentation prior to the Q&A session.