UK secures access to candidate COVID-19 vaccines from Valneva, BioNTech, Pfizer

The UK government said Monday that it secured early access to 90 million doses of two COVID-19 vaccine candidates being developed by Valneva and a partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer. In addition, the government also gained access to one million doses of a treatment containing COVID-19-neutralising antibodies from AstraZeneca to protect those who cannot receive vaccines.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said "today’s announcement follows an existing global licensing agreement signed with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to research, develop and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine for the UK public. AstraZeneca will work to produce 100 million doses for the UK in total."

Valneva to supply 60 million doses

Specifically, Valneva agreed to supply 60 million doses of its inactivated whole virus vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, called VLA2001, with the UK government having an option to purchase a further 40 million doses. The vaccine is expected to enter clinical studies by the end of 2020 and to potentially reach regulatory approval in the second half of 2021. 

Valneva noted that the government is expected to contribute to UK clinical studies costs, with VLA2001 set to be manufactured at the company's facilities in Livingston, Scotland.

BioNTech, Pfizer to supply 30 million doses

Meanwhile, BioNTech and Pfizer agreed to supply 30 million doses of their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. While financial details of the deal were not disclosed, the companies noted that the terms are based on the timing of delivery and the volume of doses. BioNTech and Pfizer hope to be ready to seek regulatory approval for the vaccine as early as October and expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020.

The BNT162 programme includes four vaccines, with preliminary data for the most advanced candidate, dubbed BNT162b1, announced earlier this month. The early data demonstrated that BNT162b1 is able to produce neutralising antibodies in humans at or above the levels observed in the plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: BioNTech and Pfizer boost COVID-19 vaccine hopes.

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