Press review


French biotech Valneva to supply Covid-19 vaccine to UK

Country : Europe, France

Keywords :
PARIS, 4 Sep (APM) - French biotech Valneva is to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the UK, reports Le Figaro on Friday (p.24).
The agreement - signed in July - provides funding for clinical trials and means the company can increase its production capacities.
Valneva is hoping to start Phase I testing by the end of the year and have the vaccine on the market by next summer.
Valneva specialises in travel vaccines with a vaccine for travellers' diarrhoea and cholera and another for Japanese encephalitis.
At the end of April, it announced an agreement for a vaccine Lyme's disease with Pfizer, which would be available from 2025. There is currently no vaccine for the disease which causes 550,000 new cases each year.

Covid-19 vaccine - the final sprint?

The search for a Covid-19 vaccine could be entering its final stages, noted the Le Parisien on Monday (pp.2-3) in an update on the situation.
The daily noted that seven vaccine projects - including ones from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna - are now in Phase III, which involves large scale testing on volunteers. Christophe D'Enfert from the Pasteur Institute was quoted in the paper as saying that a vaccine had never been developed so fast and that the Phase I and II trials had been combined which had never happened before.
However, the paper also noted that despite the news the vaccine could arrive in France before the end of the year, the research could still stumble at the final hurdle. It also noted the problem of anti-vaxxers, a significant issue in France where 32% of the population have said they would refuse a vaccine.

Sanofi/GSK coronavirus vaccine starts human trials

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have started testing their vaccine in people after promising pre-clinical results, reports Le Parisien in a brief on Friday (p.13) (APMHE 68760).
The vaccine is set to be approved in the first half of 2021. The paper notes that other vaccines - notably Pfizer's and Moderna's - are at more advanced stages. Moderna's vaccine in particular is in Phase III - the last stage before launch.
Le Figaro also covers the story on Friday (p.24).

Nestlé buys Aimmune Therapeutics

Nestlé is buying Aimmune Therapeutics for $2.1 billion, reported several newspapers on Tuesday, including Le Figaro (p.24) (APMHE 68712).
The paper noted that the sales price was almost three times Aimmune's share price - which made a loss of €250 million last year.
However, by paying such a large sum, Nestlé has acquired Palforzia - a very promising drug for nut allergies. It is presented as the only drug to reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reactions and was approved in the U.S. at the beginning of 2020. Nestlé said that around 240 million people worldwide have potentially deadly allergic reactions. The drug is set to be approved in Europe by the end of this year.
The acquisition comes less than a week after Nestlé acquired IM HealthScience. Le Figaro pointed out that it is no surprise that Nestle bought these two companies, as it has made no secret of its desire to strengthen its position in the health nutrition market.
Les Echos (pp.20 and 34) and Le Monde (p.17, brief) also covered the story.

French scientists develop 'trap' for coronavirus

French biologists have developed a 'trap' that can be applied as a spray or lozenge to stop coronavirus infecting the lungs, reported La Croix on Tuesday (p.9).
The trap works by latching on to the spines protruding off the coronavirus protein - which in turn gave the virus its name - therefore stopping them in the mouth and preventing them from going on to infect tissues in the respiratory tracts, the paper noted.
The trap is not toxic to the body - but it has yet to be tested on animals or humans.
While awaiting to start the eight to 12-week trial on green monkeys - because their genomes are the most similar to humans - the scientists have filed a patent and are negotiating a marketing agreement with a pharma company.
Le Figaro also reported on the story on Wednesday (p.11).

BioMérieux sales benefit from Covid-19 testing

BioMérieux has seen its sales rise almost 16%, thanks to Covid-19 testing, reported Le Figaro on Thursday (p.23).
Alexandre Mérieux - chief executive since 2014 - said the company was able to show the value of its solutions by developing a range of coronavirus tests and by getting them to market quickly.
The paper noted that the company's tests are supported by the U.S. defence department, sold for around €100 and give a result within 45 minutes.
However, the company is facing competition in this sector. On Tuesday, Roche launched a blood-based test in countries that accept the CE label - meaning that it can be sold in Europe. And on 27 August, BioMerieux's share price fell 11% following the approval of a fast (five minutes), small (credit card sized) and cheap ($5) Abbott test.
To prevent 'missing the boat', BioMérieux has increased its R&D investment by 14% - with most of this spending going into Covid-19 associated research.

Biodol Therapeutics raises €4.5 million for chronic neuropathic pain

Biodol Therapeutics has raised €4.5 million for chronic neuropathic pain, reports Les Echos on Friday (p.30).
The funds will finance R&D efforts to develop a drug which neutralises the FLT3 receptor which causes chronic neuropathic pain. The idea is to combat the pain at its source, rather than just numb it.
The company is hoping to select a target drug by the end of the year.



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