Paris (Reuters)-Varneva’s shares plummeted 35% on Monday after a French pharmaceutical company announced that the UK government had terminated its € 1.4 billion ($ 1.65 billion) COVID-19 vaccine supply contract.
“The company claimed to be in breach of its obligations under the supply contract, but the company has violently denied it,” the British government said in a statement.
Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate VLA2001, like the flu vaccine, is dependent on inactivated viruses and is expected to outperform those who are wary of those using the new mRNA technology.
It is a potentially worth up to € 1.4 billion and has signed a contract with the United Kingdom for up to 190 million doses by 2025.
“Valneva has been enthusiastic and doing its best to collaborate, including investing significant resources and effort,” the company added.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said closing the deal in Valneva would not affect UK vaccine supply.
“This is an ongoing commercial issue, so I’m a little limited in what I can say,” a spokesman said when asked why the transaction was cancelled.
“MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority) has not approved the Valneva vaccine. Comments from the company have no impact on vaccine supply and have any impact on the deployment of fall and winter vaccines. I didn’t, “the spokesman told reporters.
Valneva, whose market share has risen by about 50% since the beginning of 2021, said it is continuing its VLA2001 development plans.
“Valneva believes that the first approval of VLA2001 could be granted in late 2021”, he added.
This is not Varneva’s first COVID-19 setback after the European Commission announced in April that it did not meet the conditions for supplying vaccine candidates to the block.
But in July, Varneva said negotiations with Brussels were still ongoing.
After other French groups such as Sanofi and the Pasteur Institute faced difficulties in producing vaccines, the French government was unable to secure doses from domestic producers, especially when firing was rare. I was blamed for it.
($ 1 = 0.8487 euros)
Reported by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Benoit Van Overstraeten, Sarah White in Paris, Kylie MacLellan in London; Written by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Ingrid Melander; Edited by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Mark Potter, Alexander Smith
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