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The Franco-Austrian biotech company Valneva announced on Wednesday that it would begin clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Britain, where the government has already ordered at least 60 million doses.
The specialist vaccine developer said Phase 1 and 2 trials, involving around 150 healthy adults, will focus on the drug’s safety and its ability to boost an immune response at three different doses.
Supported by the UK National Institute of Health, testing will take place at multiple sites across the UK.
Valneva hopes to determine the optimal dose of the vaccine in the second quarter of next year, putting it on track for approval by the fall – several months later than its mid-2021 ambition.
In addition to a firm order for 60 million doses, Britain has the opportunity to purchase an additional 130 million between 2022 and 2025 in a deal worth up to 1.4 billion d euros ($ 1.7 billion, £ 1.2 billion).
Valneva’s vaccine contains a deactivated form of the virus that can elicit an immune response in the body but cannot harm health, the same technique used in its existing inoculation against Japanese encephalitis.
Based in Nantes in western France, Valneva employs around 500 people worldwide and already has two vaccines on the market, against Japanese encephalitis and cholera.
He has another vaccine for Lyme disease in phase 2 trials and a fourth, for chikungunya virus, in phase 3.
Valneva is already listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and aims to get a New York listing next year.
© 2020 AFP