Drugmaker Valneva (VLS.PA) is placing a large wager on a vaccine as it looks past dismal sales of its COVID shot as increased cases of tick-borne and deadly Lyme disease are being caused by climate change.
Although Valneva received regulatory approval from the European Union and the British government, both organisations terminated contracts totalling greater than a billion dollars, erasing approximately 40% of the worth of Valneva’s stock value over the previous six months.
Based on more recent messenger RNA (mRNA) new tech, which teaches cells how to manufacture a protein that would activate an immune response, the French company promoted its COVID-19 vaccine as a conventional option for those who had refused doses.
There are no well-established competitors either for Lyme disease or Chikungunya, in contrast to the strong battle with large worldwide drugmakers like Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca to bring out medicines to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on the Disease Prevention & Control, under the European Centre, diseases conveyed by so-called vectors like ticks and mosquitoes are on the rise as climate change causes longer summers and warmer winters in several parts of the planet, including North America and Europe.
The incidence of disease-causing vectors has significantly increased, according to Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive of Valneva. He admitted in an interview that global warming is undoubtedly a significant factor, if not the primary one.
The business, situated in Saint-Herblain, southwest France, is getting ready to launch a delayed human test for its prototype Lyme disease vaccine and will shortly submit its Chikungunya vaccine for U.S. approval following successful late-stage research.
In the upcoming weeks, the Lyme disease vaccination study will begin. It will involve at least 5,000 adults.
The germs that cause Lyme disease is often carried by ticks the size of poppy seeds. Some people discover they have had the disease after the fact, even though the majority of bites do not result in infection & not everyone affected gets the recognisable rash.
But at this time, normal antibiotic therapy may no longer be effective, and some patients may continue to experience dangerous side effects, such as brain inflammation if left untreated.
Chikungunya is primarily disseminated in the developing world, which includes Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, by the sting of an infected mosquito.
The viral illness is characterised by severe muscle spasms that can linger for months or years, even though it is rarely fatal.
If authorised, Valneva plans to market its Chikungunya vaccine to both populations in rich nations and those in low- or middle nations as a travel vaccination. Samir Devani, an analyst at Rx Securities, predicts peak revenues of $250 million.
Given the expanding tick population, increased infection rates, and occurrence of long-term consequences, Valenva anticipates that the Lyme disease vaccine, designated as VLA15, will produce global annual sales of $1 billion if it is effective.
For Valneva, which brought in 350 million euros in sales last year, that might prove to be a game-changer.
Monkeypox outbreaks recently outside of Africa, wherein it is endemic, and the 1918 pandemic have rekindled interest in infectious illness vaccines among pharmaceutical companies and investors.
David Pinniger, Polar Capital’s Healthcare Fund Manager, revealed that endemic diseases that are either recurrent or susceptible to acute periodic outbreaks are a significant public health concern for poor countries and present a “big potential” for vaccine manufacturers.
Individuals who reside in rural settings and other areas where ticks are common may benefit from VLA15, according to Lingelbach.
Instead of only targeting one bacterial strain as was the case with LYMErix, VLA15 is made to combat many bacterial strains. Lyme disease is also more understood scientifically, and celebrities like Justin Bieber & Amy Schumer have taken their battles with it public.