Boost for Livingston
Valneva Covid vaccine approved by UK regulator
A Covid-19 vaccine developed by French company Valneva has been given regulatory approval by the UK’s independent medicines regulator.
The decision, announced today, comes after the UK Government cancelled a €1.4 billion deal in September to supply Britain with 190 million doses of its Livingston-produced Covid vaccine, blaming a “breach of contract”, which the company denied.
It has not been confirmed whether the vaccine – called VLA2001 – will now be available across the UK, though it is likely that a deal will be done with the Scottish Government.
In February Valneva received research and development grants of up to £20 million from Scottish Enterprise to invest in its plant at Livingston.
Today, Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive at Valneva, said: “Following termination of the supply agreement with the British government in September 2021, Valneva is currently in discussion with the Scottish government to supply up to 25,000 doses to the National Health Service and frontline workers in Scotland.”
Following Westminster’s cancellation of the contract last year, the UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was withdrawn for “commercial reasons” and because the jab would not have been approved by the UK’s medicines watchdog.
He later amended his comments to say the vaccine “has not yet gained approval” and “may not” be green-lit in Britain. Valneva argued that its vaccine provided stronger immunity than the one produced by AstraZeneca.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today said the Valneva product is the first vaccine of its type to gain UK approval and is the sixth Covid vaccine to be granted an MHRA authorisation.
Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “Our approval of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Valneva today follows a rigorous review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of this vaccine, and expert advice from the government’s independent scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines.”
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the Independent Commission on Human Medicines, said: The independent Commission on Human Medicines and its COVID-19 Expert Working Group has carefully considered the available evidence are pleased to say that we have advised that the benefit risk balance is positive.
“The vaccine is approved for use in people aged 18 to 50 years, with the first and second doses to be taken at least 28 days apart.”