Shares of Valneva SE fell about 40% on Monday after the French drugmaker said the UK government had ended a Covid-19 vaccine supply deal worth up to €1.4 billion.
The vaccine was set to be manufactured at Valneva’s Livingston plant in Scotland.
Valneva said it received a termination notice from the UK Government (HMG) “in relation to the supply agreement for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, VLA2001.”
The contract provides the UK Government with the right to terminate.
“HMG has alleged that the company is in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, but the company strenuously denies this,” said Valneva.
“Valneva is continuing its VLA2001 development plan.
“Testing for the company’s pivotal Phase 3 trial, Cov-Compare, is ongoing at Public Health England (PHE).
“Valneva recently announced that its Phase 3 results are expected to be available early in the fourth quarter and that these results will form part of its rolling submission for conditional approval of VLA2001 with the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
“Subject to these data and MHRA approval, Valneva believes that initial approval for VLA2001 could be granted in late 2021.
“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.”
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “”When it comes to their supposed alleged failure to meet their contract obligations, we obviously are looking for more information from the UK Government and would expect that shortly.”
In an interview with the BBC, Yousaf said: “First and foremost, even if this contract is terminated, we have enough supply even for a booster programme moving forward.
“I want to give absolute confidence to anybody listening that we have the supplies necessary to continue to vaccinate, and particularly with a booster programme hopefully on the horizon shortly …
“The second thing, of course, is this is a blow for the facility in Livingston.
“We are very keen and will be reaching out to the company to try to get security and secure a future for that facility in Livingston – we hope that would be with Valneva.”