Novavax narrows revenue projection as COVID vaccine uptake continues to lag

With uptake slow in the U.S. for its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax has adjusted its revenue projection for 2022. Instead of guiding to a range of $2 billion to $2.3 billion, the company has dropped the upper end, estimating revenue will come in at $2 billon.

Six months ago, the company was guiding to a 2022 revenue figure between $4 billion and $5 billion.

The downward adjustment came despite surprising analysts with $735 million in revenue in the third quarter compared to the expected $586 million, which sparked a modest 2% gain on its stock price. Of the revenue for the quarter, $626 million came from sales of 35 million doses of its vaccine, Nuvaxovid.

This year, Novavax reported revenues of $704 million in the first quarter and $186 million in the second quarter.

Like other COVID vaccine manufacturers—such as Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna—Novavax declined to discuss a revenue projection for 2023, citing a variety of uncertainties in the virus landscape.

But John Trizzino, Novavax’s chief commercial officer, said in a conference call on Tuesday afternoon that the company believes over the long term that the annual U.S. booster market will include roughly 225 million people, exceeding the annual flu market, which is between 170 million and 190 million people. 

The company also reported a net loss of $169 million for the third quarter, an improvement on its figure from the same quarter of last year ($322 million) and that of the second quarter of this year ($510 million).

The FDA authorized use of Nuvaxoid in July and three weeks ago signed off on its use as a booster for those who received mRNA shots from Pfizer or Moderna as their primary vaccination series.

The company expressed confidence in its ability to find traction in the booster market.

“It generates a very broad and long-lived immune response, which we believe has advantages in the face of the continued emergence of new variants,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said. “We believe that these differences will allow us to deploy a vaccine that may not require serial updating and may not require bivalency.”

Only 43,000 doses of Nuvaxoid have been administered in the U.S. But the company sees a near-term opportunity with uptake of boosters slow in adolescents and adults in the U.S. and Europe, Trizzino said.

On Wednesday, Nuvaxovid was authorized for use as a booster in the U.K. Like the nod in the U.S., the endorsement covers those who received mRNA shots from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech for their original vaccination series.