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Britain ends contract with French startup for vaccines

PARIS (AP) >> A French pharmaceutical startup announced Monday that the British government has abruptly terminated an agreement for it to supply tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccines.

Britain alleged that Valneva was in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, which the company “strenuously” denied. There was no immediate comment from the British side.

The vaccine, being made at Valneva’s plant in Scotland, is currently in the third phase of trials and not yet approved by regulators.

Britain initially ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retained an option for 90 million more. It later added a further 40 million to its order. The total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion), Valneva had said.

If the U.K. exercised all of its options, Valneva’s deliveries would continue through 2025.

At the time of the deal, Britain rolled out the red carpet to the startup, while the more cautious EU dragged its feet. Valneva is clearly startled that the carpet has been pulled out from under its feet.

In its statement, Valneva, headquartered on the banks of the Loire, said it is continuing on all fronts of research and testing and is on schedule.

The VLA2001 vaccine, being made at Valneva’s plant in Scotland, is currently in the third phase of trials and not yet approved by regulators.

Britain initially ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retained an option for 90 million more. It later added a further 40 million to its order. The total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion), Valneva had said.

If the U.K. exercised all of its options, Valneva’s deliveries would continue through 2025.

At the time of the deal, Britain rolled out the red carpet to the startup, while the more cautious EU dragged its feet. Valneva is clearly startled that the carpet has been pulled out from under its feet.

In its statement, Valneva, headquartered on the banks of the Loire, said it is continuing on all fronts of research and testing and is on schedule.

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