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EU Co. Secures Smallpox Vaccine Order to Target Monkeypox
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Shares of Danish vaccine company Bavarian Nordic A/S traded 70% higher after the company advised that it had secured a contract for its IMVANEX® smallpox vaccine from an undisclosed country in Europe for use in addressing newly confirmed cases of monkeypox.

Denmark-based biotech firm Bavarian Nordic A/S (BVNRY:OTC; BAVA:OMX) a fully integrated vaccine company focused on developing, manufacturing, and marketing vaccines to treat cancer and infectious diseases, today announced that "it has secured a contract with an undisclosed European country to supply its IMVANEX® smallpox vaccine in response to new cases of monkeypox evolving during May 2022."

The report indicated that on May 7, 2022, a person returning to Europe who had recently traveled to Nigeria where monkeypox is endemic was confirmed as having the disease. Since that first person was identified, twenty additional cases have now been confirmed in England, Portugal, and Spain and there are several other potential infections being investigated.

Presently, it is believed that the evidence indicates that these new infections were acquired locally and not from travel outside Europe. The report noted that so far only a single case has been confirmed in the U.S. in a traveler who came from Canada, though no cases have been confirmed yet in Canada, but several possible cases are currently being investigated.

The company advised that its smallpox vaccine, which is known and marketed as JYNNEOS® in the U.S. and as IMVAMUNE® in Canada, has also been approved for extended use for the monkeypox indication. The firm pointed out that "the vaccine is approved in Europe as IMVANEX® for only the smallpox indication but has previously been provided for off-label use in response to monkeypox cases."

Bavarian Nordic's President and CEO Paul Chaplin remarked, "While the full circumstances around the current monkeypox cases in Europe remain to be elucidated, the speed of which these have evolved, combined with the potential for infections beyond the initial case going undetected, calls for a rapid and coordinated approach by the health authorities, and we are pleased to assist in this emergency situation."

"Infection control has been a high priority for societies during COVID-19, and this situation is an unfortunate reminder, that we cannot let our guard down, but must continue to build and strengthen our infectious disease preparedness to keep the world open," Chaplin added.

Bavarian Nordic did not provide any specific details regarding the size of the vaccine order or the dollar amount of the transaction; however, the company expressly stated that the order will not have any material impact on its full-year 2022 financial guidance.

The company explained that "monkeypox is a rare, but serious disease, which is endemic in Central and West Africa." The firm added that "the disease is quite similar to human smallpox, although it is less severe with an estimated fatality rate of 1-10%."

The disease was initially discovered in two research colonies of monkeys in 1958. At that time, outbreaks of a pox-like disease were observed in the colonies and that is where the name monkeypox was derived. The first case identified in humans occurred in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo while the country and the African continent were engaged in concentrated efforts to eradicate smallpox. Subsequently, the disease has spread to people in several other countries in central and west Africa. While most of the recorded cases have been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, historically there have been other documented cases outside of Africa in the U.K., U.S., Israel, and Singapore.

Bavarian Nordic is a fully integrated vaccines company headquartered in Denmark. The firm is engaged in developing, manufacturing, and commercializing vaccines targeting treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. The firm has operations in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S. The company claimed that "it is a global leader in smallpox vaccines and has been a long-term supplier to the U.S. Government of a non-replicating smallpox vaccine, which has been approved by the FDA, also for the protection against monkeypox."

The firm's portfolio also includes vaccines for tick-borne encephalitis (Encepur®) and rabies Rabipur® / RabAvert®), as well as a vaccine designed for Ebola (MVABEA®), which is licensed to Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ:NYSE) Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The company's investigative pipeline includes two additional vaccines entering Phase 3 clinicals this year including a next-generation SARS-Co-V2 vaccine and a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine.

Bavarian Nordic A/S has a market cap of around $2.04 billion with approximately 211.4 million shares outstanding. BVNRY shares opened close to 40% higher today at $8.72 (+$2.47, +39.52%) over yesterday's $6.25 closing price. The stock has traded today between $8.45 and $10.85 per share and is currently trading at $10.75 (+$4.50, +72.00%).

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