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Sajid Javid: Valneva COVID vaccine would not have been approved by MHRA

Published on 15/09/21 at 10:48am

On Monday the UK cancelled a deal with French vaccine maker Valneva worth up to €1.4 billion, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid has now said that this was due in part to the belief the vaccine would not have gained MHRA approval.

Read: Valneva COVID-19 vaccine deal pulled by UK government

Javid said on Tuesday: "There are commercial reasons that we have cancelled the contract, but what I can tell her is that it was also clear to us that the vaccine in question that the company was developing would not get approval by the MHRA here in the UK.”

Shares in Valneva plunged 35% on Monday after it said the British government had ended the deal to supply 100 million doses of the Valneva COVID-19 vaccine candidate, VLA2001.

This contract signed with Valneva in February is the third largest deal secured by the UK behind Pfizer-BioNTech, 135 million doses, and in line with Oxford-AstraZeneca, 100 million doses.

VLA 2001 relies on an inactivated virus, similar to flu vaccines, and is seen by some as having the potential to win over people wary of vaccines that use new mRNA technology.

Valneva said on Monday that the British government had alleged it was in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, a charge the company strenuously denies.

The vaccine is being produced in Livingston, Scotland, using an adjuvant made by US company Dynavax. The facility has capacity to produce around 200 million doses in 2022.

Valneva has said the UK government had options that could have brought the order to 190 million doses by 2025.

Javid said the British and Scottish governments would be working together to see what they could do to secure the future of the facility.

Kat Jenkins

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