Date: 05.06.2020

Lyme Disease Vaccine Gets Pfizer’s Backing in €284M Deal

The French biotech Valneva will collaborate with Pfizer to develop and commercialize Valneva’s phase II-stage Lyme disease vaccine candidate. The deal they signed is expected to help compensate for the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Valneva’s financial outlook for 2020.

The latest alliance will pool Valneva’s vaccine R&D expertise with Pfizer’s vast drug development resources. If approved, the vaccine could become the first on the market for the tick-borne Lyme disease since SmithKline Beecham’s (now GlaxoSmithKline) vaccine LYMErix was withdrawn in 2002. 

According to the terms of the deal, Valneva will receive a total of €284M ($308M) in cash payments. This includes a €120M ($130M) payment upfront and €164M ($178M) in unspecified development and early commercialization milestones. 

Valneva’s CEO Thomas Lingelbach told me that the upfront payment will be reinvested in the Lyme program. Pfizer will lead the late-stage development of the vaccine, with Valneva covering 30% of the development costs. Pfizer will then have full control over commercializing the vaccine, and Valneva can expect tiered royalties starting from 19%. 

Lyme disease affects approximately half a million people in Europe and the US each year. Transmitted via ticks and lice, it is caused by various forms, or serotypes, of bacteria in the genus Borrelia. Early symptoms are often nonspecific, which may delay diagnosis. For those who are either left untreated or treated at an advanced stage of the disease, serious heart, neurological, and joint complications may arise.

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