French Firm Joins UK Coronavirus Vaccine Initiative

Valneva VLA2001 is a Vero cell-based highly purified inactivated vaccine candidate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus
sars virus and research

A Saint-Herblain France based specialty vaccine company confirmed its participation in the UK government COVID-19 vaccine response program.

On July 20, 2020, Valneva SE announced it reached an agreement in principle with the UK government to provide up to 100 million doses of its VLA2001 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, to be manufactured at its facilities in Livingston, Scotland. 

The UK government is expected to contribute to UK clinical studies costs and is negotiating funding to expand Valneva’s Scottish facility. As part of its broader COVID-19 response, Valneva plans to further invest in its manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland, and also in Solna, Sweden. 

VLA2001 is a Vero-cell based, highly purified inactivated vaccine candidate against the SARS-COV-2 virus, leveraging the manufacturing technology for Valneva’s Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine. 

The Company has designed a process that largely uses this platform in regards to upstream- and downstream process steps as plug-and-play with moderate adjustments. The process includes inactivation with BPL to preserve the native structure of the S protein.

Valneva is also collaborating with Dynavax to evaluate the potential use of its CpG 1018 adjuvant as part of the VLA2001 vaccine. The combination with CpG 1018 is expected to induce a strong immune response and has the potential to generate high titers of neutralizing antibodies, stated the company.

Thomas Lingelbach, CEO of Valneva, commented in a press release, “We are delighted to have been selected to participate in this important program with the UK government.”

“This recognizes the strong track record and capabilities that we have built in the last fifteen years both in the UK and beyond. Our Livingston facility has been FDA approved for over a decade and we have a strong team both there and in Solna.” 

“We also envisage manufacturing vaccines to support the need for prevention of COVID-19 beyond the UK.”

Previously, on April 22, 2020, Valneva announced that it is developing VLA2001, an inactivated whole virus vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. VLA2001 leverages Valneva’s well-established platform for IXIARO®, its vaccine approved for active immunization for the prevention of Japanese encephalitis. 

The VLA2001 vaccine is expected to enter clinical studies by the end of 2020 and to potentially reach regulatory approval in the second half of 2021.

Valneva SE has operations in Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and the US with over 500 employees. 

Precision Vaccinations publishes vaccine development news.