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Emergent (EBS) to Help Vaxart Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

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Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (EBS - Free Report) announced that it has entered into a manufacturing agreement with Vaxart, Inc. (VXRT - Free Report) to produce the clinical material for the latter’s experimental oral vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Development services will begin immediately.

The oral recombinant vaccine candidate is based on Vaxart’s proprietary VAAS platform. Emergent will utilize its molecule-to-market contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) services to produce the clinical material for helping Vaxart initiate a phase I clinical study on its experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The study is expected to begin early in the second half of this year.

Financial terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.

Per the agreement, Emergent will provide development services from its Gaithersburg, MD location and manufacture drug substance at its Bayview facility in Baltimore, MD, which is the same plant to be in use for the company’s recently announced collaboration work with Novavax, Inc. (NVAX - Free Report) .

Last week, Emergent inked a collaboration deal with Novavax to support the latter’s development of a vaccine candidate to protect from COVID-19.

In the same week, Emergent initiated developing two product candidates for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. The company’s evaluation of the candidates will leverage its hyperimmune platforms. It plans to begin a clinical study in the third quarter of 2020.

Shares of Emergent have rallied 15.2% in the past year against the industry’s decrease of 18.3%.

We remind investors that the World Health Organization has now declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, given the alarming levels of its spread and severity. With the menace of global coronavirus outbreak on the rise, faster development of vaccines is the need of the hour.

Earlier this week, Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) announced that the first participant is already dosed in the phase I study of mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273) against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Several pharma/biotech companies are also actively engaged in developing a treatment or vaccine for the COVID-19. We remain optimistic as several companies along with global authorities are working closely to introduce a treatment as early as possible to treat this deadly virus.

Zacks Rank

Emergent currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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