Coronavirus company news summary - UK scraps vaccine supply deal with Valneva - No evidence for universal Covid-19 booster shots, FDA and WHO scientists argue
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Coronavirus company news summary – UK scraps vaccine supply deal with Valneva – No evidence for universal Covid-19 booster shots, FDA and WHO scientists argue

14 Sep 2021

The UK Government has sent a termination notice to French vaccine maker Valneva regarding the supply agreement for the company’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, VLA2001. The government claimed that Valneva breached its obligations under the deal; the company has denied the allegations. The development plan for VLA2001 is continuing and testing for Valneva’s Phase III Cov-Compare trial is proceeding at Public Health England.

Everest Medicines has entered a definitive agreement to licence rights to Canadian biotech firm Providence Therapeutics’ mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidates in emerging markets in Asia, including Greater China. Providence’s lead candidate, PTX-COVID19-B, is undergoing Phase II trials. The deal will also provide Everest with rights to Providence’s next-generation mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidates against certain variants of concern, which are currently in the pre-clinical stage. The companies also signed a separate agreement for the development of mRNA products using Providence’s mRNA technology platform.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has joined the US in approving RedHill Biopharma’s Phase II/III clinical trial of oral RHB-107 (upamostat) to treat non-hospitalised, symptomatic Covid-19 patients. The trial is underway in the US and the company is working to further expand trial sites to fast-track participant enrolment. RHB-107 is an antiviral drug candidate that acts on human serine proteases associated with preparing the spike protein for entry of the virus into target cells. The Phase II/III trial will assess the therapeutic’s safety and efficacy.

A team of scientists, including two departing US Food and Drug Administration officials and several from the World Health Organization (WHO), have argued that Covid-19 vaccine boosters are not required for the general population, Reuters reported, citing an article published in The Lancet. The team noted the need for additional evidence to validate booster shots. This publication comes as the US Government prepares to start offering boosters to fully vaccinated individuals next week, subject to health regulators’ approval.