Novavax (NVAX) surged 20% to a 52-week high on Tuesday upon reporting that it received a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services valued at $179 million to develop seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines.

During the 3-year base period valued at $97 million, Novavax will continue to develop its novel, clinical-stage influenza vaccines to address the Office Biomedical Advanced Research and Develop Authority’s commitment to pandemic preparedness.

Funded activities include three clinical trials utilizing its pandemic influenza vaccine candidate, a phase 2 and phase 3 trial involving Novavax’s seasonal influenza vaccine and a manufacturing facility plan that has the capability to produce finished vaccines within twelve weeks and at least 50 million doses within six months of an influenza pandemic declaration.

“This is a unique opportunity for our company to apply the knowledge we have gained over the past five years to address a critical public health need,” said Novavax CEO Dr. Pahul Singhvi, who noted the technology will “ultimately help our nation and the world to be better prepared to respond quickly to influenza pandemics and emerging diseases.”

The contract could be extended for an additional 24-month period with $82 million in additional funding to build on the work the drug maker accomplishes during the initial period and to support licensure by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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