Valneva's not too late in COVID-19 as analysts eye $1.1B in 2022 vaccine sales

Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine could bring in roughly $1.1 billion in 2022 revenues, analysts say. (Valneva)

Valneva has yet to successfully usher its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine across the regulatory finish line, but analysts still see reason to bet on the French vaccine specialist.

The biotech's shot could bring in roughly $1.1 billion in 2022 through supply deals and more than $500 million in 2023, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. The vaccine, dubbed VLA2001, is currently in late-stage trials—tested against AstraZeneca's shot—with a readout expected in the third quarter this year. 

Unlike its pandemic competitors, Valneva is the only European-made inactivated, adjuvanted coronavirus candidate that has undergone clinical testing in the region. It will likely be the only, or at least the leading, shot of its type in Europe, the analysts said. 

The vaccine, which incorporates a CpG 1018 adjuvant from Dynavax, could have a safety edge since mRNA shots are still novel technologies and adenovirus vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have been plagued with concerns of rare but serious blood clots, the analysts wrote.

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On top of that, Valneva’s shot won’t come with stringent cold-chain requirements and has a longer shelf life than current mRNA options. The Jefferies analysts believe that countries will likely stockpile COVID-19 vaccines “above and beyond what is necessary out of an abundance of caution," and VLA2001 could pose as a viable choice. 

Valneva, a relative unknown in the vaccine race so far, already has a supply agreement with the U.K. worth €1.4 billion ($1.63 billion) for a five-year supply of doses. The deal could eventually bring in 190 million doses by 2025. The company is preparing to deliver 60 million of those shots in the second half of 2021. 

In April, the company said it would no longer focus on striking a supply pact with the EU and would instead turn to individual countries. Germany, France and Sweden are likely candidates looking to buy more doses, Jefferies analysts wrote.

However, if the shot makes it to the market, the vaccine will have to face other well-established Big Pharmas that have accumulated vaccine sales far beyond Jefferies’ predictions for Valneva.

Moderna’s shot in the first quarter alone cashed in $1.73 billion and is expected to bring in $19.2 billion in sales by year-end. Meanwhile, Pfizer is expecting an even bigger payout. It’s vaccine, first to market in the U.S., reeled in $3.4 billion during the first quarter. Pfizer has laid out a $26 billion sales forecast for the full year. 

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Those companies have raced to develop booster shots to target troublesome variants of the virus, a lucrative sign for investors who are eyeing pandemic revenue streams for years to come. 

For its part, Valneva is in “a good position to benefit” as a booster shot, the Jefferies analysts argue. The shot is part of a U.K.-government funded clinical trial examining seven different vaccines to determine how effective a booster of each shot is at protecting individuals from the virus, according to the company. Initial results are expected in September.