PM360 2021 Trailblazer Awards Specialty Pharma/Biotech Company of the Year Novavax

Throughout the pandemic, Novavax evolved from a small, 100-person, biotechnology company to a vaccine developer with a global footprint employing over 1,200 people. Leveraging innovative technology and its novel vaccine development platform, Novavax is one of the few companies that was able to rapidly create and advance a COVID-19 vaccine candidate into late-stage testing. This could not have been accomplished without committed leadership, strong data, innovative technology, dynamic partnerships, and dedicated employees.


After more than 10 years iterating its platform, the company was ready to answer the call in developing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373 (‘2373), which uses recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike protein. Combined with Matrix-M™ adjuvant, it demonstrated in preclinical studies that it binds efficiently with human receptors targeted by the virus, a critical aspect for effective vaccine protection. In fact, initial preclinical results led the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) to invest $399 million in Novavax to support vaccine development and manufacturing.

Matrix-M adjuvant is derived from the inner bark of a Chilean soapbark tree to boost the immune response generated by a vaccine. Novavax acquired the adjuvant in 2014 and incorporated it into its NanoFlu™ influenza candidate, which has completed Phase 3 trials.

Novavax also recently announced a Phase 2 clinical trial in children demonstrating 77% efficacy for malaria vaccine candidate, R21, created by the University of Oxford that includes Matrix-M. Licensed to Serum Institute of India, this vaccine’s high levels of protective efficacy hold promise of becoming an important tool for global malaria eradication.

Talent Development

Novavax’ employee base, referred to as “SuperNovas,” grew more than five-fold during 2020, and leadership has retained a unique culture that makes it a sought-after employer. The company quickly adopted COVID-19 protocols and took care to ensure remote employees felt engaged and welcomed.

Novavax takes pride in empowering SuperNovas through well-established open lines of communication and collaboration. Starting in 2020, Novavax implemented quarterly global forums, convening all employees across the world for detailed presentations from and discussions with leadership. These events helped further unify the company as it continues to grow.

The Novavax leadership team remains heavily invested providing employees with ample opportunity for growth and responsibility. As a result, Novavax was recognized in “Top Workplaces USA 2021.”

Social Responsibility

Novavax has tied its clinical development and business efforts with social responsibility and a commitment to fair and equitable access to vaccines. Novavax’ advance purchase agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will provide (together with partner Serum Institute of India) 1.1 billion cumulative doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for the COVAX Facility, which will be allocated across low, middle-, and high-income countries.


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