(Reuters) – Novavax Inc. shares crashed to 65 percent on Thursday after data showed that its vaccine did not prevent RSV, a leading cause of respiratory infections in infants, thus missing # 39; main objective of a study at an advanced stage.
RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is highly infectious in children and is the leading cause of hospitalizations of infants in the United States. There is currently no vaccine approved to prevent the virus.
Although some patients suffer little from it, it could result in severe lung infections and even the death of high-risk patients such as babies and the elderly.
The experimental vaccine, when administered to pregnant women, could not prevent a clinically significant respiratory tract infection caused by the virus in infants, Novavax said.
The failure of the late-phase trial raises questions about the future of the drug, two years after the company reduced its workforce by 30% to fund the ResVax vaccine trial.
Novavax's shares fell on the penny stock market after the sale, which was expected to erode more than $ 500 million of the company's market value.
Although the study failed, the main objective of the study was to show a benefit against RSV hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood.
"Although this study does not meet the predefined success criterion for the primary clinical endpoint of this trial, the data indicate that ResVax protects infants from some of the most severe consequences of RSV," said the director. General, Stanley Erck, in a statement.
The company has announced plans to meet with US and European health regulators to review the data.
Reportage of Manas Mishra and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Edited by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty