Valneva looks beyond Europe for vaccine partner

French pharmaceutical company Valneva is in the market for potential partnerships for its COVID-19 vaccine, should the candidate secure approval and gain interest beyond Britain and the European Union.

The drugmaker is looking particularly at entry into the U.S. market according to its chief financial officer David Lawrence.

“We're now thinking very carefully about how we can participate in the U.S. going forward. That's a very active internal discussion that we are having, to think about now that the administration has changed, now that the U.S. has gotten vaccines, how do we participate in that programme."

Valneva’s shot is the only French shot close to entering late-stage human trials, with Britain due to receive the first doses produced in late September at the earliest.

A deal for 190 million doses has been agreed with the UK by 2025, which could be worth up to 1.4 billion euros, that’s $1.69 billion for Valneva.

Lawrence said he expected talks with the European Union for a provisional 60 million doses to conclude "within the next few months”.

Production of those vaccines will take place in Scotland, and Lawrence told Reuters on Monday (February 8) they will think very hard about partnering with different regions if demand goes beyond that facility's capacity.

Although, he did not say with whom the company might team up.

Any partnership might involve both production and access to markets.

Valneva said its provisional phase III trial plan after April would involve 4,000 test subjects across Britain - and would likely involve a comparison against a proven vaccine rather than a placebo.