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French vaccine producer walks away from negotiations with Commission

French vaccine producer Valneva announced it is “deprioritizing” negotiations with the European Commission after more than six months of talks have yielded no results.

“We’ve committed significant time and effort to try to meet the needs of the central EC [European Commission] procurement process,” Valneva CEO Thomas Lingelbach wrote in a press release late Tuesday. “Despite our recent clinical data, we have not made meaningful progress and have not yet secured a supply agreement.”

The company said it instead would shift to negotiations with individual EU countries and interested nations outside the EU.

Valneva and the Commission began negotiations in the third quarter of 2020, and announced the end of “exploratory talks” to secure up to 60 million doses of the company’s vaccine candidate in January 2021. The vaccine producer signed a deal with the British government in the summer of 2020 and subsequently expanded it to secure 190 million doses through 2025.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last week that the EU is focusing more on mRNA vaccines for the future, with a new deal for 1.8 billion BioNTech/Pfizer doses from 2021 until 2023.

Valneva’s candidate is made with an inactivated whole virus — a similar approach to numerous Chinese vaccines but used by few other Western companies.

After reporting in early April that its vaccine produced an immune response in early clinical trials, the company’s candidate will move to a Phase 3 clinical trial later this month.

The Commission has also not yet completed a deal with Novavax, an American vaccine producer, due to issues with its delivery schedule.

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