Thursday, June 13, 2013

Novavax Shareholder meeting

This was a first for me.  I have been thinking of going since they announced the date.  I had grand visions of rubbing elbows with bigwigs of investing.  My plan had been to get to the area late yesterday and talk my way into a tour of the plant.  I got there at sunset after DC traffic problems and other errands.

The meeting was to start at 10.  After my morning coffee I set the GPS to go see the new facilities and the current office space.  They were easy to get to from my hotel.  In the immediate area were several other pharmaceutical concerns.  The new plant was just starting to get active, I saw someone that appeared to be arriving for work.  A man was doing something outside along the perimeter, I assume it was pest control or sprinkler maintenance.  At the far end of the parking lot there were three signs designating different areas to meet at in case of emergency.  A large tractor trailer size generator was outside, I assume to keep critical operations going.  I was not presentable so stayed in the car.

I drove then to the office where the meeting was to be held.  A few cars around, a man in a truck doing nothing.

When I came back around 9:30 there were more cars.  Most were from the area.  I did see a BMW from Massachusetts and I wondered if that was a Fidelity man or some out of town mutual fund.  Cars were generally nice, nothing outrageous in expense.  There was a light rain as I approached the locked doors.  I read what signs were there, nothing about the meeting.  Then a woman opened the door for me, normally one has to use an employee badge to get in the building.  A big man was leaning on the desk, struck me as off duty law enforcement (there was a LEO car outside), a pleasant woman at the desk, two young ladies sitting nearby.  After checking in I sat with the young ladies, apparently escorts for the event.  I read a book as I waited.

Present in the meeting were many of the people I'd read about on the website.  There was only one other investor there, not what I was expecting.  Nobody from Massachusetts that I could tell.  Biz meeting held, then CEO talked, then we got to ask questions.  The other investor had been there before, asked some good questions.  Here is what I learned from observation:
1.  RSV market estimated 2B US, 5B worldwide per year.  Likely on the website, but this figure sunk in hard.
2.  They are developing H7N9 candidate.  I knew nothing about this possible pandemic.
From asking I learned:
1.  Animal testing is contracted out.
2.  Business plan for marketing not much of an issue.  For pandemics the CEO deals with government.  For flu, only a few people needed to sell all the can make right now.  For RSV, would need more of a salesforce, depending upon what their partnerships were at the time.
3.  Medicago and others developing VLP vaccines should favor already established systems for growth.  A PHD mentioned that in years past the US government started a vaccine program using mosquitoes.  The first person it was tested on had an anaphylactic reaction.
4.  HPV vaccines developed with yeast.
5.  They are only working with Fall army Worm cells and have been able to develop everything they wanted using this.  PHD did suggest there might be limitations to this.

Reviewing this meeting in my head on the drive home today, I am left with the following thoughts.
1.  Considering PHD buying 100,000 shares of late, I'd say more good stuff coming.
2.  They are banking on RSV.
3.  CEO would not answer clearly what timeline exists for the future.  Tough to tell if that was normal, avoidance, or something else.  I'd want to follow up on this more.  Next year.
4.  I'll hold what I have.
5.  Patient investors ought to reap great benefit if this company executes well.
6.  My back of the napkin price target based just on RSV approval is now $33 minimum (83 maximum).

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