Britain signs deals with Pfizer/BioNTech, Valneva for Covid-19 vaccines

Financial terms of the deals were not confirmed.
Financial terms of the deals were not confirmed.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain has secured access to 90 million doses of two possible Covid-19 vaccines from an alliance of Pfizer and BioNTech, and French group Valneva, the business ministry said on Monday (July 20).

Britain secured 30 million doses of the experimental BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, and a deal in principle for 60 million doses of the Valneva vaccine, with an option of 40 million more doses if it was proven to be safe, effective and suitable, the ministry said.

With no working vaccine against Covid-19 yet developed, Britain now has three different types of vaccine under order and a total of 230 million doses potentially available.

“This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk,” Business Minister Alok Sharma said.

Financial terms of the deals were not confirmed.

The deals follow a previously announced agreement with AstraZeneca for the firm to produce 100 million doses of its potential vaccine being developed in partnership with the University of Oxford.

Britain said it was the first such deal which Pfizer and BioNTech had agreed for the supply of their vaccine, which is being tested in early to mid stage trials.

The firms are aiming to make up to 100 million doses by the end of this year and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by end of 2021, if the vaccine is successful.

Valneva’s potential vaccine is still in pre-clinical trials, and the company is aiming to move into clinical trials by the end of 2020.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was hopeful but could not promise that a vaccine could be developed by the end of the year.

“To say that I’m 100% confident that we’ll get a vaccine, this year or indeed next year, is alas, just an exaggeration. We’re not there yet,” he said.

There is currently no working vaccine against Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and experts say one will be needed to control the pandemic that has infected millions of people around the world and killed over 600,000.