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Novavax lays off 25% of workforce, releases 2023 outlook

(Reuters) -Novavax said on Tuesday it will reduce its global workforce by 25% as the cash-strapped biotech pushes forward with its plans to slash expenses and navigate tepid demand for its COVID-19 vaccines.

The company, which had earlier flagged significant uncertainty around generating revenue for the year, said it expects total annual revenue between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion, relying on a timely launch of its updated COVID shot.

Separately, Novavax said its COVID/flu combination shot was safe and well-tolerated in a mid-stage study, sending shares of the company up 9% before the bell.

Global regulators expect COVID vaccination campaigns to be conducted once a year, similar to annual flu inoculations.

Novavax's coronavirus vaccine is its lone marketed product after 35 years in business and the company is now hoping that its cost controls and a successful trial for its COVID/flu combination vaccine candidate will help it stay afloat.

For the first quarter, it reported a net loss of $293.9 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $203.4 million.

The layoffs, part of Novavax's ongoing cost-reduction measures, would translate to about 498 jobs out of the 1,992 full-time employees it had as of Feb. 21 according to the company's latest regulatory filings.

The biotech expects the cost-cut plans to help reduce its annual research and commercial expenses by 20% to 25% from last year. It will also record about $10 million to $15 million in restructuring charges.

The company had $637 million in cash and equivalents at the end of the quarter, compared with $1.3 billion as of Dec. 31.

(Reporting by Bhanvi Satija and Raghav Mahobe in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
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