Novavax shares skyrocket on European vax pact

Shares of Rockville, MA-based Novavax shot up more than 80 percent on Tuesday afternoon after the developer announced a licensing deal covering its use of virus-like particles in new vaccines.

Spain's Rovi Pharmaceuticals Laboratories plans to use Novavax's technology to develop exclusive new seasonal and pandemic vaccines for Spain and Portugal. Rovi also gets a non-exclusive license for Europe, Latin America and Africa. And Rovi is making a $3 million equity investment in Novavax in the partnership deal.

A non-profit foundation, jointly sponsored by ROVI and the Spanish authorities, will be formed and funded with a 25 million euro credit line from the Spanish government to support Phase III clinical development and other studies necessary to achieve marketing authorization of the VLP influenza vaccines in the European Union in 2012.

The deal represents a coup for Novavax, which has been looking to partner up as a way to gain new capital. "We continue to discuss opportunities with other pharmaceutical companies and governments to implement this compelling influenza vaccine technology around the globe," CEO Rahul Singhvi says.

- read the Novavax release
- read the report from the Washington Business Journal