A coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by French biotechnology company Valneva has launched manufacturing in Scotland, the company announced Thursday.
Valneva expects to readout results from an ongoing early phase trial in April, according to a company statement. The Phase I/II trial started in mid-December, testing three dose levels among 150 healthy adults aged 18 to 55. The candidate, coined VLA2001, involves an inactivated, adjuvanted vaccine and, if approved, would be administered in two doses, three weeks apart.
“We are extremely pleased to have achieved these two important milestones in such a short period of time,” Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive officer of Valneva, said in the statement. “Our team in Scotland have done an amazing job to get manufacturing started so quickly.”
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Britain’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, took to Twitter Thursday to laud the news. The U.K. has already authorized, and continues to distribute, three coronavirus vaccines, and marked the first country worldwide to begin vaccinations for a product developed by AstraZeneca.
“The Valneva vaccine will be another vital tool in our fight against the virus if approved,” Hancock wrote. “The start of manufacturing in Livingston today is another fantastic example of the strength of our Union, as we work together as one United Kingdom to tackle the virus
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson also celebrated the news, noting that the manufacturing process will create 100 jobs.
Valneva previously announced an agreement with the U.K. to provide 190 million doses, and upon approval, plans to send 60 million doses to the U.K. in the latter half of 2021. Valneva also announced “advanced discussions” with the E.U. to supply up to 60 million doses.
“We believe that our vaccine, assuming successful development, can make a major contribution in the UK and beyond,” Lingelbach said.