£20m support for vaccine firm Valneva’s Scots plant
Covid vaccine producer Valneva has received research and development grants of up to £20 million from Scottish Enterprise to invest in its plant at Livingston.
Talks between the company and the development agency were first announced in December and followed the controversial cancellation of a £1.3 billion Covid vaccine contract by the UK government last September.
Discussions have included the potential supply of the Covid vaccine – VLA2001 – to Scotland in the future, subject to regulatory approval, as well as an offer from Valneva to make up to 25,000 doses of VLA2001 available, free of charge, to NHS and frontline workers in Scotland, subject to regulatory approval.
The agreement means the grants will be paid over the next three years. The first £12.5m is due next month to extend R&D into the COVID-19 vaccine. The second grant of up to £7.5m will support the development of Valneva’s manufacture of vaccines to tackle other infections, such as a mosquito-borne virus.
Speaking about the SE funding, Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive, said, “This investment bolsters Valneva’s longstanding relationship with Scottish Enterprise as well as our position at the forefront of life sciences and vaccine development in Scotland.
“Scottish Enterprise’s investment will support progress across Valneva’s research and development portfolio – as well as jobs and growth in Scotland. We are grateful to Scottish Enterprise, and to the Scottish Government, for their continuing support.”
Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, commented, “Valneva’s decision to develop and manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine here in Scotland is extremely welcome.
“It is a huge vote of confidence in our life sciences sector and its highly skilled workforce, with one of the largest and most advanced vaccine manufacturing sites in the world now firmly anchored in Scotland and set to export its life-saving vaccines across the world.
“We look forward to supporting Valneva’s continued growth in Scotland, and to help it realise its international growth ambitions.”
Ivan McKee, Scottish Government Business Minister, said, “Valneva is a valued contributor to our life sciences sector and the Livingston facility is an important asset, developing and manufacturing vaccines for the prevention and treatment of several infectious diseases.
“This funding package will support high quality jobs create, drive further research and underpin the company’s operations in Scotland.”
Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, added, “I am delighted to see this significant investment in Valneva from Scottish Enterprise. This funding will enable Valneva to continue its expansion in Livingston, securing vital vaccine production capabilities and protecting crucial jobs.
“My constituency colleagues and I have long championed Valneva’s work and this investment confirms the company’s place at the forefront of Scottish life sciences.”
The grants signed with Scottish Enterprise are tied to the safeguarding and creation of jobs at Valneva’s Livingston site and, before receiving funds, Valneva must provide a legal opinion and a parent guarantee.