Valneva jumps on positive results for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

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Valneva said its latest trial, on 4,012 participants aged 18 and older across 26 trial sites in Britain, showed the vaccine prompted a stronger immune response and fewer side-effects than AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN)’s shot.

The update fuelled a jump of 37.5% in early session trading of Valneva’s shares, which had fallen sharply in September after the cancellation.

Valneva is among a handful of vaccine developers testing their vaccines against one already approved by a regulator, rather than giving volunteers a placebo as shots become more available.

“These results confirm the advantages often associated with inactivated whole virus vaccines,” said Chief Executive Thomas Lingelbach, adding that the company believed it would make an important contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

Valneva said it was preparing for trials in children aged 5 to 12 and for a Valneva-sponsored trial to evaluate VLA2001’s performance for those in need of a vaccine booster shot.

Its shares plunged last month after Britain scrapped a contract for about 100 million doses of the vaccine Valneva was developing, partly over concerns about when it would win approval.

Valneva has been expanding the trials of its VLA2001 COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and remains in talks with the European Commission over a potential contract.