Valneva says in very advanced talks on second COVID-19 vaccine deal

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Valneva, which has just struck a deal to supply Britain with its potential COVID-19 vaccine, is in very advanced talks with another possible customer, the French firm’s CFO said.

“We believe that at least one of our discussions is very advanced,” its chief financial officer David Lawrence told Reuters, without revealing the other party involved.

Valneva told Reuters in July it was in discussions with the European Union, without giving any further detail.

Dozens of vaccines for the coronavirus which has infected about 31 million people globally and killed nearly 1 million are being tested, but none has been internationally approved yet.

Valneva expects its potential vaccine, based on a platform it already uses to prevent Japanese encephalitis, to enter clinical studies by the end of this year and potentially gain regulatory approval in the second half of 2021.

It confirmed last week it would supply Britain with up to 190 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine over five years.

“In 2022, we are going to have capacity of 200 million doses or more,” Lawrence said, adding this meant Valneva had room to swiftly supply other countries.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Alexander Smith