Valneva expands trials on COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Britain cancelled its contract for about 100mln doses of the vaccine the company is developing

  
The logo of Valneva SE is pictured at the company's headquarters in Saint-Herblain, near Nantes, France, September 13, 2021.

The logo of Valneva SE is pictured at the company's headquarters in Saint-Herblain, near Nantes, France, September 13, 2021.

Reuters/Stephane Mahe

PARIS - French vaccine maker Valneva is expanding trials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate called VLA2001, and remains in talks with the European Commission over a potential contract, the company said on Thursday.

Valneva shares plunged 42% after Britain said on Sept 13 that it cancelled its contract for about 100 million doses of the vaccine the company is developing, partly over concerns about when it would win approval for use.

But the shares have regained almost 14% since, to stand up 71% since the start of the year.

"Valneva continues discussions with the European Commission regarding a potential VLA2001 supply contract," the company said in a statement.

"The company is also actively pursuing opportunities to make VLA2001 available to other customers, subject to positive Cov-Compare data and regulatory approval."

Valneva's vaccine candidate, which relies on an inactivated virus similar to flu vaccines, is seen by some as having the potential to win over people wary of vaccines that use new mRNA technology.

"Topline results from the pivotal Cov-Compare trial are expected early in the fourth quarter of 2021 and are intended to form the basis for potential regulatory approval in adults," Valneva said.

In the statement, Chief Executive Thomas Lingelbach added, "We're confident that many countries, and regulators, will want to have the opportunity to consider our inactivated COVID-19 vaccine."

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Clarence Fernandez) ((sudip.kargupta@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 53 84;))


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