Valneva seeks help in deciding what to do with COVID vaccine plant in Scotland: report

A vaccine manufacturing facility conceived as an example of the good that can come from a public/private partnership now sits empty in Scotland, with its fate yet to be determined.

French biotech Valneva has hired commercial real estate firm JLL to help determine what to do with the 75,000-square-foot plant in Livingston, West Lothian. The move was reported by EG Radius, which covers the commercial real estate industry. 

“Valneva is exploring options for its Almeida manufacturing facility in Livingston (Scotland), initially built to produce its COVID-19 vaccine, including a possible sale or a repurposing to produce Ixiaro and its chikungunya vaccine, if approved," the company told Fierce Pharma.

Three weeks ago, the company’s CEO, Thomas Lingelbach, told Bloomberg that roughly a dozen biomanufacturing companies had inquired about the site.

It’s a long way from the pandemic days of 2020 when the U.K. and Valneva hooked up on a $1.63 billion, five-year supply deal for up to 190 million COVID-19 vaccines. The partnership included government investment to build a vaccine plant.

But as companies such as Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech quickly created and launched their COVID-19 vaccines, Valneva struggled with the development of its inactivated whole-virus shot. In September 2021, the U.K. canceled a supply agreement of 100 million doses.

In February of 2022, Scotland’s economic development agency agreed to provide a grant of 20 million pounds sterling ($27 million) to assist in facility expansion and R&D of the manufacturing process for the vaccine.

Valneva’s COVID vaccine gained approval in the U.K. in April 2022 and in Europe later in the year. But in August, after Europe cut an order for 60 million doses all the way down to 1.25 million shots, Valneva suspended its manufacture. Early this year, the shot was shown to have just “marginal” value as a booster.