Valneva throws in the Covid towel
Valneva had always looked like a Covid vaccine also-ran, and now it is finally facing reality. During its second-quarter results today the group said it had suspended manufacturing of VLA2001, and is exploring strategic options. A look at Valneva’s rising costs since Covid hit explain why the group is walking away from the jab, which has proven more of a money pit than a money maker. Novavax is another Covid vaccine laggard that looks like it will struggle to make a return on its investment; earlier this month that company slashed its 2022 sales guidance from $4-5bn to $2-2.3bn – a number that could still be hard to hit given the lacklustre demand for its product, Nuvaxovid. Novavax’s outlay dwarfs Valneva’s, but it has received plenty of government funding, with the US administration ploughing in nearly $800m last year. At least Valneva has some other irons in the fire, like its Chikungunya vaccine VLA1553 and the Pfizer-partnered Lyme disease candidate VLA15. Pfizer’s recent investment and the start of a pivotal trial of the latter look like a vote of confidence; Valneva will have to hope it can do better in these diseases than it did in Covid.