Novavax was on its last leg pre-COVID. With a promising shot on deck, it's now eyeing a big 2021

Novavax vaccine
Novavax's CEO has said the company's COVID-19 vaccine could be authorized in the U.S. in May.

Heading into last year, Novavax had just $80 million in cash and a “financial operating horizon” of six months, its CEO said this week. That's all changed. Nowadays, the biotech has a lineup of COVID-19 vaccine orders and capacity expected to reach billions of doses.

Novavax is scaling up its COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing network and expects to reach capacity of 2 billion annual doses by midyear, CEO Stan Erck said on a Monday conference call with analysts. The biotech “started last year without any capacity to manufacture product,” he acknowledged, and in the span of a year has “built a global network of manufacturing sites and partners in 10 countries."

Right now, the various sites in Novavax's network are working to ramp up their production processes. The “expectation is that that all of the plants will be at full scale by April,” Erck said. 

That way, in April, May and June, the company “should be finishing, filling and finishing product in advance of regulatory approvals," the CEO said. Novavax is now completing production for early batches and expects to have vaccines “on the shelf when we have approval,” he added. 

RELATED: Novavax targets May approval for COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. 

Earlier this week, Erck told CNBC that Novavax was targeting May for a potential COVID-19 vaccine authorization from the FDA. The company’s vaccine posted an 89% efficacy figure in a phase 3 trial in the U.K. The company is running another study in the U.S. and Mexico.  

In its three-decade history, Novavax has never scored a vaccine approval. Aside from its work in COVID, the company is eyeing an FDA nod for its flu shot NanoFlu.

On the financial side, Novavax started 2020 with $80 million in cash and a “financial operating horizon” of just six months, Erck told analysts on the call. Through the span of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has raised $2 billion from the U.S. government and other partners, and it has purchase orders on deck “representing the potential for several billion dollars in revenue in the next 12 months," Erck said.

RELATED: Novavax, coronavirus shot data in hand, strikes an eye-popping supply deal with global vaccine consortium 

The company has committed 110 million doses to the U.S. government, plus a total of 200 million doses to Canada, Austria, U.K. and other countries. It’s also inked a massive deal with the global vaccine consortium Covax to supply 1.1 billion doses worldwide with the help of the Serum Institute of India. 

Novavax has granted Serum Institute an exclusive license for India and Takeda an exclusive license for Japan as well.