Come up with a pill that could end the worst health crisis in over a century, and you might find investors scrambling to buy your company's stock. That's exactly what's been going on with small-cap biotech stock Vaxart(NASDAQ:VXRT), and investors who owned the stock at the beginning of the year have seen their investment explode by a factor of 50.

Vaxart announced on Jan. 31 that it was working on a vaccine pill for the novel coronavirus that had recently been reported in Wuhan, China. That was good for a 71% pop in the stock price to $1.25, but the big gains came starting June 25, when the company announced it had signed a manufacturing deal with Attwill Medical Solutions Sterilflow, LP to crank out a billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine pill. The next day, the company said its vaccine candidate had been selected for a non-human primate challenge study by Operation Warp Speed, and all of a sudden the market saw it as a serious contender in the COVID-19 vaccine race, with shares peaking at $17.49 on July 14.

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