Novavax Q4 Revenue and Earnings Miss Estimates, Stock Drops Over 25%

Pictured: Syringe Drawing Up Drug from Vial/iStock

Pictured: Syringe Drawing Up Drug from Vial/iStock

The vaccine maker’s fourth-quarter revenue and earnings on Wednesday missed Wall Street expectations, while providing full-year 2024 sales guidance of flat to lower than last year.

Pictured: Syringe drawing up vaccine from vial/iStock, Kuzmik_A

Novavax reported fourth-quarter 2023 revenue and earnings on Wednesday that missed Wall Street expectations, causing the company’s stock price to fall more than 25% in morning trading.

Revenue of $291.3 million for the quarter fell $30.9 million short of expectations, and was down from $357.4 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Fourth-quarter losses for Novavax were also larger than analysts expected, coming in at $178 million for the quarter and $545 million for the year. Loss per share in the quarter was $1.44 versus the 45 cent loss expected.

Like other vaccine makers, Novavax’s COVID-19 products continue their sharp post-pandemic decline. The company has been engaged in a strategic restructuring to cut costs. The staff headcount was reduced by 30% compared to the first quarter of 2023 and it achieved a $1.1 billion cut in operating expenses year-over-year.

Novavax CEO John Jacobs told CNBC in an interview that the company now has a “more lean and agile organization” focused on diversifying revenue for its combo vaccine for COVID-19 and seasonal influenza launch expected in the fall of 2026.

Full-year guidance for 2024 has been set between $800 million and $1 billion, leaving expectations flat to lower from 2023’s $1 billion in revenue. First quarter revenue for 2024 is anticipated to be $100 million, down from previous expectations of $300 million for the period.

Novavax hopes to take some COVID market share away from its bigger rivals. Having been “disappointed” with U.S. performance, Jacobs has pointed to insufficient retail pharmacy sales and the inconvenience of its five-dose vials over competitors’ prefilled syringes. Novavax will now be targeting pre-filled syringes in the U.S. market and broadening its retail availability, he said.

Last week, the company announced a $400 million settlement with Gavi over a 2021 purchase agreement for Novavax’s prototype COVID-19 vaccine. The deal will stop litigation surrounding the agreement and remove “financial uncertainty,” Novavax said in its earnings announcement. After an upfront payment of $75 million to Gavi, $80 million payments will be made quarterly through the end of 2028.

In February 2023, when Novavax reported its 2022 financials, the company expressed doubts about its ability to continue operations beyond February of this year. This warning to its investors remains in place for now but with a hint of hope the company can pull through.

“Should we have a successful year, and we execute to our base plan, I think we’d be in a position where we start contemplating the lifting of that,” Jacobs said.

Kate Goodwin is a freelance life science writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at kate.goodwin@biospace.com and on LinkedIn.

Kate Goodwin is a freelance life science writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at kate.goodwin@biospace.com and on LinkedIn.
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