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Vaxart Stock Plummets On Growing Losses As Investors Eye Covid Pill

Vaxart stock plummeted Monday ahead of a key presentation for its oral Covid vaccine and after the company reported growing first-quarter losses.




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The biotech company lost 14 cents per share, growing from a 2-cent loss in the year-earlier period. Revenue declined nearly 83% to $506,000 due to lower royalty payments out of Japan for a seasonal flu drug. Vaxart (VXRT) also reported a nearly sixfold increase in research and development expenses due to the costs of testing vaccines for Covid-19 and the norovirus.

If authorized for emergency use, the Covid vaccine could be a major boon for Vaxart stock. According to this month’s IBD/TIPP Poll, more than one-quarter of Americans are hesitant to get a Covid jab. Vaxart says 19 million more Americans would get inoculated if the vaccine came in pill form. As it is, current Covid vaccines require one or two shots.

That figure could increase, “particularly given the distribution advantages of a room-temperature stable tablet,” Vaxart Chief Executive Andrei Floroiu said in a written statement. “That alone could potentially make a significant global impact.”

But on the stock market today, Vaxart stock tumbled 25.6% to 8.02.

Vaxart Stock Dives Ahead Of Presentation

The dive for Vaxart stock comes ahead of Chief Scientific Officer Sean Tucker’s presentation late Tuesday during the World Vaccine Congress Washington 2021.

The presentation is titled “Vaxart oral Covid-19 vaccine; hold the ice and the needles.” It will likely focus on the benefits of a pill vaccine vs. the injectable vaccines, which require cold transportation and storage. Highly effective vaccines from Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) also require two injections. The Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) inoculation requires just one shot.

Other vaccines are also potentially around the corner for the U.S. Novavax (NVAX) has a two-shot vaccine under consideration. AstraZeneca‘s (AZN) vaccine is authorized internationally and also requires double injections. But AstraZeneca hasn’t — and might not — ask for authorization in the U.S.

On a year-to-date basis, Vaxart stock has surged more than 53%. But that’s after closing 2020 below 6 per share.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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