PARIS (Reuters) -Valneva shares plunged around 40% in early Monday trading after the British government ended a COVID-19 vaccine supply deal with the French company, alleging a breach of obligations that Valneva denies.
The company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate VLA 2001 relies on inactivated virus, similar to flu vaccines, and is seen by some as having the potential to win over people who are wary of some current vaccines using new mRNA technology.
The British government “has alleged that the company is in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, but the company strenuously denies this,” Valneva said in a statement, without giving further details.
“Valneva has worked tirelessly, and to its best efforts, on the collaboration … including investing significant resources and effort,” it added.
The British government had no immediate comment.
Despite Monday’s steep fall, Valneva’s shares are still up by around 50% since the start of 2021.
The company said it was still continuing its development plan for VLA 2001.
“Valneva believes that initial approval for VLA2001 could be granted in late 2021”, the company added.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Mark Potter)