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Novavax plunges 84% after failed trial, analysts downgrade

Biotech
Jian Wan | Vetta | Getty Images

Shares of Novavax plummeted more than 83 percent in early trading Friday after disappointing news on the vaccine trial for people with a serious infectious respiratory disease.

Novavax shares had dropped more than 84 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the company's announcement that its experimental respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine failed in a late-stage study.

The company said its trial "did not demonstrate vaccine efficacy" in the prevention of a lower respiratory tract disease in older adults. It said it will look into additional data to better understand the trial results.

A slew of major Wall Street analysts downgraded the stock to neutral Friday including Citi Research, Piper Jaffray, JPMorgan and Wedbush.

However, FBR said the sharp drop in the shares is a "strong buying opportunity." The firm said Novavax's phase 2 trial was positive and supported a path forward. With an additional study, FBR believes the vaccine will reach approval by 2020 instead of prior estimates of 2019.

"Thus, we think the 83 percent pullback in the stock during aftermarket trading represents a strong buying opportunity," analyst Vernon Bernardino said Friday, who lowered to $12 from $17 and reiterated his "outperform" rating.

The stock closed at $1.29. The stock is down more than 80 percent year to date.

NVAX 5-Day Chart

Correction: The story has been updated to reflect that Novavax's stock is down more than 80 percent year to date.