The Valneva VLS.PA COVID-19 vaccine was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday, although the French company’s contract with the European Commission to supply the dose hangs in the balance.
Valneva was trying to salvage a deal with the European Commission after its vaccination program was hit by delays in its registration application due to requests from the EMA for more information.
The original deal called for up to 60 million doses. But due to application delays and countries in Europe already having surplus supplies, the Commission has signaled it wants to amend the agreement for far fewer doses, Valneva said earlier this month.
But according to Valneva CEO Thomas Lingelbach, if these volumes are confirmed, it will not be enough to support the company’s vaccination program.
Valnev’s spokesman said on Wednesday that the contract is still under discussion by the Commission and Member States.
The Valneva vaccine is the sixth vaccine recommended by the EMA for the treatment of COVID-19. The final decision on the approval of the vaccine is expected by the Commission in the near future.
Paris-listed shares of Valneva jumped about 22% on Thursday.
The UK terminated its contract for the Valneva vaccine in 2021, although the company has received approval in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
The Valnev vaccine uses technology that has been used for decades for polio, influenza and hepatitis shots. The company made a bet that it would win over people who had abandoned COVID vaccines that used mRNA and other new technologies.
But demand for a new batch of COVID vaccines remains uncertain. US-based Novavax’s NVAX.O vaccine uses conventional technology similar to Valneva’s vaccine, but its distribution in Europe has been limited, with about 220,000 doses of 12.6 million doses administered in the region.
Some vaccine makers, such as AstraZeneca AZN.L and Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N, are warning of a global oversupply of COVID vaccine.