UK terminates lucrative deal to purchase French Covid vaccines worth £1.2billion

The French biotech company announced on Monday it has received a “termination notice” from the UK Government (HMG) in relation to the procurement of a candidate Covid vaccine. Under the terms of the agreement, the Government had the right to terminate the deal. According to Valneva, the Government “has alleged that the Company is in breach of its obligations under the Supply Agreement, but the Company strenuously denies this”.

In February this year, the Government said it had secured some 100 million doses of the Valneva VLA2001 vaccine with room to secure another 90 million doses.

The total value of the vaccines was estimated to be up to £1.19billion (€1.4billion).

The Government has also invested in Valneva’s manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian, which began manufacturing doses of the jab early this year.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said at the time: “This latest deal is yet another weapon in our national arsenal against this terrible disease, and will ensure we have sufficient supplies to protect the British public in 2021 and beyond.”

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However, the deal has now been terminated as the Frech company enters the third stage of its Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trials.

Subject to a decision from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the company predicts initial approval for the vaccine could be granted in late 2021.

The company said: “Valneva has worked tirelessly, and to its best efforts, on the collaboration with HMG including investing significant resources and effort to respond to HMG’s requests for variant-derived vaccines.

“Valneva continues to be committed to the development of VLA2001 and will increase its efforts with other potential customers to ensure that its inactivated vaccine can be used in the fight against the pandemic.”

However, at the time of the study, the results were yet to be peer-reviewed.

The Phase 3 trials will involve thousands of participants and the results are expected in the Autumn.

Last month, the Valneva vaccine was “banned” in France after the European Union failed to pre-order the jab.

Consequently, the vaccine was to be made available in the UK ahead of France and the rest of Europe.

Earlier this year, the Government said Valneva’s Livingston site will have the capacity to produce 250 million vaccine jabs each year.

The UK is a world-leading contributor to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative, which helps distribute Covid vaccines around the world.

In June this year, members of the G7, including the UK and US, pledged to share one billion vaccine doses by June 2022.

The UK has committed to donating 100 million doses by June next year, 80 percent of which will be donated by COVAX.

As of April, the Government has already committed £548million to the scheme.

Express.co.uk has asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to comment on the Valneva deal.

source: express.co.uk