Vaxart (VXRT) Reports Publication of Peer-reviewed Journal Article Showing Potential Clinical & Economic Value of Norovirus Vaccine

January 27, 2021 8:35 AM EST

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Vaxart, Inc., (NASDAQ: VXRT), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing oral vaccines that are administered by tablet rather than by injection, including a Phase 2 ready norovirus program, announced today health care economic findings published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Computational modeling simulating norovirus infection and transmission in a community setting showed that a potential norovirus vaccine can avert symptomatic cases and result in cost savings. The study found, among other things, that vaccination against the norovirus can reduce the economic burden of the virus and is cost effective even if priced at $500 per course when vaccinating children under 5 and older adults, a much higher value than previously estimated. The manuscript titled, “Potential Clinical and Economic Value of Norovirus Vaccination in the Community Setting” can be accessed here.

“This study highlights the fact that norovirus is highly contagious and can lead to missed school and work, with productivity losses that can add up,” said Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA, senior author of the study, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), and executive director of the Public Health Informatics, Computational, and Operations Research (PHICOR). “The preschool-age population can be particularly vulnerable due to heavy social mixing leading to greater spread of the virus, and the older adult population can be susceptible to more severe disease and subsequently experience high rates of outpatient visits and hospitalizations.”

The PHICOR team developed a computational simulation model of different segments of the US population and the spread of norovirus to better understand the value of vaccinating children <5 and adults ≥65 years old against norovirus. The model simulated the spread of norovirus, subsequent clinical outcomes (e.g., symptoms, hospitalization, death) and associated costs (e.g., direct medical, productivity loss), as well as vaccination.

Key Findings:

  • Even with a 25% vaccine efficacy and 10% vaccination coverage, a norovirus vaccine could decrease symptomatic cases in a community by a relative 7.7%.
  • In preschool-aged children, the cost of vaccination could be as high as $1,300 and still provide cost-savings and as high as $1,600 and still be cost-effective.
  • Vaccinating children <5 years old had a substantially higher benefit compared to vaccinating older adults as children under 5 contribute considerably to norovirus spread. However, vaccinating older adults can still be cost-effective or cost-saving.
  • In older adults, the cost of vaccination could be as high as $100 and still provide cost-savings and as high as $165 and still be cost-effective.
Cost Thresholds Based on Population Segment and Vaccine Efficacy
Vaccine TargetPopulationVaccineEfficacyCost-effective Cost(USD)Cost-savings Cost(USD)
<5 years old50%$1,190$930
75%$1,600$1,300
≥65 years old50%$110$64
75%$165$100
<5 & ≥65 years old75%$575$450
Assuming 10% vaccine coverage

“These important findings confirm our view of the significant potential clinical and economic benefit of a norovirus vaccine,” said Andrei Floroiu, chief executive officer of Vaxart. “The significantly higher cost levels from this analysis increase meaningfully our view of the value creation potential of our oral tablet norovirus vaccine. We are very excited to advance our norovirus program with the three clinical trials we expect to start in 2021 and look forward to confirming the efficacy and tolerability profile suggested by the very encouraging data from our previous Phase 1 studies.”

Norovirus is the leading cause of acute viral gastroenteritis in all age groups in the United States. However, there are no approved vaccines for noroviruses. Each year, on average, norovirus causes 19 to 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis and leads to 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths, mostly among young children and older adults.

Vaxart, Inc. supported the PHICOR’s research team.

About PHICOR

Since 2007, PHICOR’s team of scientists and medical, public health, and communication experts have been researching and developing systems and computational approaches, methods (e.g., artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science), models, and tools to help a wide range of decision makers address various health and public health issues. PHICOR helps local, state, and federal governments respond to infectious disease threats, ranging from the flu to Ebola to Zika to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For example, during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, the PHICOR team was embedded in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help with the national response. This included working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



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