Sanofi abandons its Covid vaccine and joins forces with Novavax: details of the deal

After AstraZeneca, it’s your turn Sanofi to give up the covid vaccine. The French group will now market it to its American competitor Novavax, which will also try to combine it with its flu vaccines. “The last doses of VidPrevtyn Beta (Sanofi’s Covid vaccine) expired at the end of January 2024the French giant said in an email to AFP this Friday. We have withdrawn the application for registration from the World Health Organization (WHO)”. “This decision is not due to concerns about efficacy, safety or quality, but simply because there is a sufficient supply of additional vaccines. COVID-19 in the world”specified Sanofi.

This decision marks a new stage in the post-pandemic management of the pharmaceutical sector. The major groups are actually facing a clear decline in sales of Covid vaccines. Just ahead of Sanofi, Brits AstraZeneca announced the withdrawal of its vaccine on Wednesdayone of the first to hit the market during the pandemic, citing a drop in demand.

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But the case of Sanofi, whose vaccine was slow to reach the market, is a little different, because the French giant will resume the operation of another vaccine against Covid, the American Novavax. Both groups concluded “joint exclusive license agreement for the joint marketing of a Covid-19 vaccine and the development of combination vaccines against influenza and Covid-19”announced in a joint press release.

The deal, under which Sanofi will pay Novavax at least $500 million and up to $1.2 billion, will see the former offer the latter’s vaccine from 2025.. Sanofi will also manage regulatory affairs as well as research and development. However, some countries, such as India, will be an exception., because Novavax already has other agreements there. The agreement also stipulates that Sanofi can develop combination flu and Covid vaccines based on the Novavax vaccine. The Frenchman will eventually take a small stake – less than 5% – in Novavax.

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Relief for Novavax?

The issues are different for these two groups, although they have in common that they offer non-messenger RNA based Covid vaccines. This innovative technology serves as the basis for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which quickly became dominant in the Covid vaccination campaigns in Western countries due to their high efficacy. The more traditional vaccines from Sanofi and Novavax, which arrived later, had more trouble finding their place. The fate of the American even seemed to be in danger for several months.

Novavax, a small group whose portfolio is heavily dependent on its Covid vaccine, reported significant financial difficulties last year. Its title, which was in the hundreds of dollars at the height of the pandemic, is now worth only between $4 and $5. In a sign of the importance of this deal, Shares of Novavax more than doubled on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, exceeding ten dollars. In Paris, Sanofi acquired slightly less than 1%.

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For Sanofi, a giant whose existence is not in doubt due to the drop in sales of vaccines against Covid, the agreement allows not only to resolve the fate of its own product, but also to bet on combined vaccination with influenza. The Frenchman, who has been slow to develop his Covid vaccine, is actually one of the major players in the field of flu vaccines. “Sanofi will be solely responsible for the development and marketing of any new combination influenza-Covid-19 vaccine developed with the Sanofi influenza vaccine”clarifies the press release.

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