Valneva, the French vaccine maker of Covid-19, backed by the British government, has filed for an IPO in the US to capitalize on investors’ hunger for biotechnology during the pandemic.
The Paris-listed company, with a market capitalization of more than € 1 billion, filed an application to raise $ 100 million in American Depositary Shares, the day after Vaccitech, the Oxford spin-out that owns the platform behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, his application published.
Valneva has a € 1.4 billion deal to supply Covid-19 vaccines to the UK, with the doses being produced in a Scottish facility, enhanced with public money. The UK has already agreed to buy 100 million shots and has an option to buy 90 million more by 2025. Valneva has already received nearly £ 100 million from the government.
But in his application, Valneva warned that any restrictions on the import or export of vaccines from the EU could pose a “substantial” risk to their effectiveness. The vaccine will be manufactured in the UK, but will be bottled and packaged in the EU, he said.
Shortcomings in the supply of vaccines to the EU have led to tensions between the UK and the EU over the import of shots and raw materials for the currently approved injections from Oxford / AstraZeneca and BioNTech / Pfizer.
Valneva’s application comes after it announced positive early-stage test results for its Covid-19 earlier this week, and planned to launch a later-stage study this month and apply for UK approval in the fall.
The phase 1 and 2 studies showed that the injection elicited more antibodies in the participants who received the highest dose than is usually seen in recovered Covid-19 patients, with more than 90 percent producing significant amounts of antibodies. The shot also triggered a response from another important part of the immune system, the T cells.
The vaccine, which uses a completely inactivated virus, a more traditional approach than currently approved injections, could be used as a booster for the vaccinated or to target variants of the virus.
Valneva said that while it would be approved much later, it could have a competitive advantage over its rivals.
“We believe that, if approved, our vaccine, as an inactivated virus vaccine, could provide safety, cost, ease of manufacture and distribution advantages over currently approved vaccines and could be adapted to provide protection against mutations of the virus, ”the application said.
But it also said it did not yet have the rights to use the virus strain in the vaccine on the commercial market. It is negotiating a commercial agreement with the World Health Organization and the Italian National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Valneva is also developing vaccines for Lyme disease and chikungunya, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Total revenues were € 110 million in 2020, compared to € 126 million in 2019, as sales of its travel vaccines were affected by travel restrictions during the pandemic.
Last year it recorded a loss of € 0.71 per share, after it had to make a write-down of € 7.4 million, partly due to the limited shelf life of the products. Valneva also had to renegotiate a debt financing agreement last year because of the risk of not meeting the minimum income covenant.