UK-backed vaccine maker warns of export restrictions when filing IPO

Valneva, the French government-backed Covid-19 vaccine maker, has filed for an initial public offering in the United States in order to capitalize on investor appetite for biotechnology during the pandemic.

The Paris-listed company, with a market capitalization of over 1 billion euros, filed a request to raise $ 100 million in American Depositary Shares the next day. Vaccitech, the Oxford spin-out that owns the platform behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, published his deposit.

Valneva has a deal worth up to € 1.4 billion to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the UK, by manufacturing the doses at a Scottish factory expanded with government funds. The UK has already agreed to buy 100million snapshots and has the option to buy another 90million by 2025. Valneva has already received nearly £ 100million from the government.

But in its dossier, Valneva warned that any restrictions on the import or export of vaccines outside the EU could pose a “substantial” risk to its operation. The vaccine is expected to be made in the UK but bottled and packaged in the EU, he said.

Insufficient vaccine supply to the EU has led to tensions between UK and EU on the import of blueprints and raw materials for currently approved jabs from Oxford / AstraZeneca and BioNTech / Pfizer.

Valneva’s filing comes after its announcement positive results of preliminary tests for its Covid-19 earlier this week, planning to launch a subsequent study this month and seek UK approval in the fall.

The phase 1 and 2 study showed that the injection elicited more antibodies in participants receiving the highest dose than is usually seen in recovered Covid-19 patients, with over 90 % producing significant levels of antibodies. The jab also elicited a response from another key part of the immune system, T cells.

The vaccine, which uses an inactivated whole virus, a more traditional approach than currently approved vaccines, could be used as a booster for those vaccinated or to fight variants of the virus.

Valneva said that although it would be approved much later, it could have a competitive advantage over its rivals.

“We believe that, if approved, our vaccine, as an inactivated viral vaccine, could offer advantages in terms of safety, cost, ease of manufacture and distribution over currently approved vaccines and could be adapted. to provide protection against virus mutations, ”he said in the filing.

But he also said he did not yet have the right to use the strain of virus contained in the vaccine in the commercial market. He is in the process of negotiating a trade deal with the World Health Organization and the Italian National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Valneva is also developing vaccines against Lyme disease and chikungunya, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Total revenue rose to 110 million euros in 2020, up from 126 million euros in 2019, as sales of its travel vaccines were affected by travel restrictions during the pandemic.

It recorded a loss of € 0.71 per share last year, after having to write down € 7.4 million, in part due to the limited shelf life of the products. Valneva also had to renegotiate a debt financing deal last year because it risked not meeting the minimum income contract.

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