Could Novavax Stock Help You Become a Millionaire?

Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) stock may have made some millionaires back in 2020. It was the height of the coronavirus vaccine race, and investors were betting on this biotech company making it to the finish line. In that year, the stock soared 2,700%, and with a $40,000 investment in the shares, you could have become a millionaire — if you locked in those gains.

Since then, Novavax stock has tumbled more than 90% from its peak. The company disappointed investors by arriving at the vaccine finish line late and missing out on the biggest revenue opportunities. And because of that, Novavax launched a cost-cutting strategy last year and even expressed concern about its ability to continue operations, considering some uncertainties.

This may sound grim, but there are some bright spots. The embattled company has made progress along the cost-cutting path, and data from its combined COVID/flu vaccine candidate has been strong. That candidate could be a key growth product in a post-pandemic world.

Considering all of this, could Novavax stock offer a repeat performance and help you become a millionaire?

Image source: Getty Images.

The Novavax story

First, a quick summary of the Novavax story so far. While rivals Moderna and Pfizer developed mRNA vaccines — based on an entirely new technology — to protect against the coronavirus, Novavax developed a protein subunit vaccine. These already exist to protect against other viruses, such as hepatitis B, and work by introducing purified pieces of a virus into the body to spur immunity.

Novavax’s vaccine — which is based on a well-known technology — offers those who may be hesitant about trying a new technology an alternative. But this hasn’t helped the company carve out a significant share of the vaccine market so far. Revenue has been far lower than Moderna’s, a biotech company that, like Novavax, sells only one product: the coronavirus vaccine.

NVAX Revenue (Annual) Chart

NVAX Revenue (Annual) Chart

Today, coronavirus vaccine demand is on the decline, weighing on revenue prospects for all vaccine makers. But the situation is most challenging for Novavax since the company didn’t generate tens of billions of dollars in sales like its rivals at the height of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Novavax faces one particular uncertainty: the outcome of a dispute with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Novavax says the organization didn’t order the number of vaccines indicated in their Advance Purchase Agreement — and Gavi says Novavax breached the agreement and is requesting a refund of nearly $700 million. Considering Novavax only has about $600 million in cash right now, a decision in Gavi’s favor could be extremely bad news for the biotech.

The dispute is under arbitration — and a decision is likely to serve as a catalyst — positive or negative — for the stock.

Novavax’s cost cuts

On a brighter note, Novavax has made progress on its cost-cutting initiative. The company has decreased liabilities by $1 billion since September, cut its workforce by 20%, and plans additional reductions to operations this year. It’s on track to reduce its expenses by more than 55% this year, compared with 2022.

All of that could help Novavax advance its combined coronavirus/flu vaccine through clinical trials. Moderna and Pfizer also are working on combined candidates, but there could be room in this market for more than one player. Today, about half of the population goes for flu vaccines annually, and this group may easily opt for a combined vaccine.

A millionaire-maker stock?

Now let’s get back to our question: Could Novavax help make you a millionaire?

It’s rare when just one stock makes millions for an investor — and it’s risky to put a huge chunk of cash into just one stock, especially when it’s a high-risk player like Novavax. While an aggressive investor may want to take a small stake in the company, that may not be enough to generate millions if the stock takes off.

Wall Street has high hopes for Novavax shares, predicting they may rise more than 370% in the coming 12 months. But even that kind of gain won’t deliver $1 million unless you make an enormous bet on Novavax, and I wouldn’t recommend doing that.

It’s possible Novavax could help you become a millionaire, though, if all goes right for the company and you invest in a broad range of stocks over time. Together, these players may do the job.

Right now, however, considering the challenges Novavax faces, I wouldn’t bet the farm on this biotech. Instead, I favor waiting on the sidelines until some of the uncertainties have been resolved.

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Adria Cimino has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Pfizer. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Could Novavax Stock Help You Become a Millionaire? was originally published by The Motley Fool