Mabion Extends Year’s Gains to 318% as Covid Vaccine Nears

Poland’s Mabion SA expects to start commercial production of Novavax Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine quickly after it completes test trials around mid 2021 in what could be the start of multiyear cooperation between the companies.

There is “great interest” by Novavax to start production as soon as possible and its scientists are in Konstantynow Lodzki, central Poland, helping to get the process on track, Mabion board member Adam Pietruszkiewicz said in an interview.

The global tug-of-war over vaccinations, including political spats over whether the jabs should be exported before local needs are met, could also play into the Polish biotech’s hands, he said.

“There is lack of vaccine production facilities globally and our key assets are bio-reactors with free capacity,” Pietruszkiewicz told Bloomberg. “Rising export limits for vaccines should be even supportive for our plans as it may help convince Novavax to have manufacturing locations in Europe.”

Mabion shares surged as much as 18% on Friday after the Polish biotechnology company said it received its first payment from Novavax. The stock closed 7.6% higher than on Thursday, extending its year-to-date advance to 318% on bets it will benefit from sky high demand for Covid shots. The company is now worth 1.19 billion zloty ($303 million.)

Game Changer

The conditional contract with Novavax became a game-changer for Mabion, which has for years been working on a cancer drug similar to Roche Holding AG’s rituximab. Apart from the Polish deal, Novavax has facilities in the Czech Republic and a partnership in Spain within the European Union.

Pietruszkiewicz declined to comment on reports that Novavax is delaying a contract to supply the EU with its vaccine due to legal issues as well as shortages of raw materials. The U.S. company earlier planned to file its vaccine for approval in the U.S. and the U.K. in the second quarter, after positive late-tests results in March.

Mabion won’t disclose the potential scale of the final contract for commercial deliveries with Novavax as details are being negotiated. The deal will be signed if test series made around mid-year are promising, he said.

Vaccine contracts may become a longer-term cooperation for Mabion and Novavax as jabs need to be updated in future years against fresh variants of the virus, according to Pietruszkiewicz.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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