COVID player and Pfizer-partnered Valneva eyes $100M Nasdaq IPO


French biotech Valneva, which has developed a lineup of traveler vaccines and is starting a late-stage COVID vax effort, is seeking to level up to the Nasdaq with a $100 million IPO.

The company is currently listed on the Euronext in Paris as VLA but wants to move on over to the more lucrative U.S. markets, and comes at a time when after years of neglect, vaccine research is all the rage, and with a COVID asset in hand, Valneva the more interesting to investors.

Valneva already has a licensed vaccine portfolio includes Ixiaro, marketed as Jespect in Australia and New Zealand, for the prevention of Japanese encephalitis, as well as Dukoral to prevent cholera.

Part of its appeal is the biotech’s under-the-radar COVID vaccine work: Last summer, it penned a pact with the U.K. government to supply millions of doses of its vaccine candidate, which will be produced in Scotland.

An inactivated whole virus vaccine, the candidate uses the same platform as Ixiaro, a more traditional approach than used by the likes of Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, which tap mRNA tech. Just last week, it had some early clinical data out for the vaccine, known as VLA2001, which while very topline, was encouraging enough for it to kickstart a pivotal phase 3 at the end of the month.

Valneva believes that the timeline for delivery of a tranche of 60 million doses of vaccine to the U.K. Government “will extend into the first quarter of 2022,” according to its most recent update. It's hoping for a U.K. authorization later this year, and has a deal for 100 million vaccines, with an extra 90 million also on the table, worth nearly $1.7 billion with Britain over the course of the next few years.

The company also has a phase 2 Lyme disease vaccine candidate called VLA15, which is part of a $308 million R&D deal penned with Pfizer last year.

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VLA15 is currently the only vaccine candidate in development for the infectious disease and would cover six serotypes that are common in North America and Europe. A half-million people across the two regions are estimated to be infected with the bacteria Borrelia, which causes Lyme disease and is spread by infected ticks.

Valneva notched $131 million in sales for 2020. The company filed confidentially for the IPO on Jan. 15, seeking to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker VALN.