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The vaccine maker Novavax, which has faced several years of dramatic ups and downs around the development of its Covid-19 vaccine, announced Monday that its CEO of more than 11 years, Stanley Erck, would be stepping down.

Investors had not been expecting the departure, but cheered the news. Novavax shares rose nearly 16% in midday trading. The announcement was made during the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the biggest gathering of investors and companies in the sector.


Erck will be replaced by John Jacobs, who left his role as the CEO of Harmony Biosciences, a developer of rare disease drugs, late last week. Harmony is a less-well-known firm than Novavax, but at the current moment, measured by its stock price, it is worth more. Harmony has a market capitalization of $3.1 billion, triple Novavax’s current value.

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