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COVID-19 vaccine maker Novavax to chop workforce, expenses

COVID-19 vaccine maker Novavax to chop workforce, expenses
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Washington: Novavax is cutting about a quarter of its workforce as the COVID-19 vaccine maker seeks to slash expenses while dealing with uncertain future revenue.

The company said on Tuesday that it expects to trim next year’s costs for research and development as well as selling, general and administrative expenses by about 40% to 50 per cent compared to 2022.

The company had 1,992 full-time employees as of February 21, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The job cuts announced on Tuesday would equate to 498 employees.

Novavax’s protein-based vaccine debuted long after alternatives from companies like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson had reached the market. Only about 88,458 doses of the Novavax vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

That compares to more than 400 million doses of market leader Pfizer’s two-shot original vaccine and updated booster.

The COVID-19 vaccine is Novavax’s lone commercial product. It is updating that vaccine for this fall and also developing a flu shot and a coronavirus-flu shot combination.

The company said in February that it estimates that it has enough cash to fund operations for the next year, but “substantial doubt exists regarding our ability to continue as a going concern” due to uncertainty over factors like 2023 revenue.

Vaccine makers expect sales to slow this year, particularly in the first half, as they switch from supplying the US government to selling their shots commercially. They forecast some improvement in the fall, when people will start seeking updated booster shots.

In the first quarter, Novavax Inc. total revenue sank to USD 81 million from USD 704 million in last year’s quarter.

The company swung to a net loss of USD 294 million from net income of USD 203 million. That equated to a loss of USD 3.41 per share.

Analysts expected a loss of USD 3.46 per share on USD 87.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Novavax, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has been around since 1987. The company said in its SEC filing that its expenses have exceeded revenues since then. The company’s accumulated deficit as of December 31 was USD 4.3 billion.

Shares of Novavax climbed 21 per cent in early-morning trading. (AP)

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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