- Paragon Gene Therapy, a newly acquired unit of contract manufacturer Catalent, will take over the leases of two Novavax facilities, paying the vaccine developer $18 million to acquire related manufacturing equipment.
- Around 100 Novavax employees who currently staff the two sites will join Catalent as a result of the agreement. Novavax employed roughly 380 people as of March 12.
- The deal furthers Catalent's gene therapy push, following its $1.2 billion acquisition of Paragon Bioservices in April.
With the deal, Novavax is offloading operating costs while getting some upfront cash as it works to rebound from a damaging late-stage trial failure in February.
The financial impacts of the agreement should help. While Novavax listed nearly $109 million in cash, equivalents and marketable securities as of the first quarter's end, the biotech acknowledged "substantial doubt" that it could continue as a business through 12 months beginning April 1.
In announcing the deal with Catalent, Novavax said it expects the cash infusion will help it advance its two experimental vaccine candidates, ResVax and NanoFlu.
ResVax failed a Phase 3 study for respiratory syncytial virus in late February, sending shares in Novavax down by more than 70% and raising questions about the drug's future. Still, company executives pledged to push on.
Doing so will take time, however, as the Food and Drug Administration recommended Novavax conduct another Phase 3 study to test ResVax's efficacy in preventing RSV.
The company anticipates beginning a Phase 3 trial for NanoFlu this fall.
For Catalent, the deal supplements its recent buy of Paragon and secures two facilities already up to Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Both sites are located in Novavax's corporate home of Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Catalent will enter into a long-term supply agreement with Novavax to provide process development and manufacturing services for certain Novavax programs.
The transactions are expected to close later this year.