The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika an international health emergency yesterday. The WHO had estimated that as many as 4 million people could be affected by the virus as it spreads in Latin America and the Caribbean to North America in the coming months
The Zika virus is related to the Japanese encephalitis virus, also an arthropod-borne flavivirus transmitted through mosquito bites, against which Valneva has already developed a vaccine (IXIARO®/JESPECT®), which is now commercialized in the US, Europe, Canada, and other territories.
Thomas Lingelbach, President and CEO, and Franck Grimaud, Deputy CEO of Valneva commented, “Considering the alarming spread of the Zika virus and the immediate medical needs, we have decided to use the expertise we gained as part of our bench-to market development of the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine to evaluate the technical feasibility of developing a vaccine and delivering a lead candidate within two years.”
The WHO has stated that the virus was originally seen as a mild risk to humans, but it has since grown rapidly to a public-health threat of "alarming proportions”. The most common symptoms of the Zika virus infection are mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis (red eye) lasting between two to seven days. Global health officials are alarmed because of its potential link to brain defects in infants as well as the rare Guillain-Barré syndrome that can lead to paralysis. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available against the disease.
About Valneva SE
Valneva is a fully integrated vaccine company that specializes in the development, manufacture and commercialization of innovative vaccines with a mission to protect people from infectious diseases through preventative medicine.
The Company seeks financial returns through focused R&D investments in promising product candidates and growing financial contributions from commercial products, striving towards financial self-sustainability.
Valneva’s portfolio includes two commercial vaccines for travelers: one for the prevention of Japanese Encephalitis (IXIARO®/JESPECT®) and the second (DUKORAL®) indicated for the prevention of Cholera and, in some countries, prevention of diarrhea caused by LT-ETEC. The Company has proprietary vaccines in development including candidates against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium difficile and Lyme Borreliosis. A variety of partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies complement the Company’s value proposition and include vaccines being developed using Valneva’s innovative and validated technology platforms (EB66® vaccine production cell line, IC31® adjuvant).
Valneva is listed on Euronext-Paris and the Vienna stock exchange and has operations in France, Austria, Scotland, Canada and Sweden with approximately 400 employees. More information is available at www.valneva.com.