(Bloomberg) -- Valneva SE has been approached by about a dozen potential buyers for its Scottish manufacturing site, according to the company’s chief executive officer, after the French drugmaker said earlier this month it was mulling a sale.

The Almeida factory was originally built in partnership with the UK government for the company’s Covid-19 vaccine, but the arrangement collapsed two years ago before any shots had been supplied. A disposal is one of a number of options Valneva is exploring. 

All of the companies that have expressed interest in the site operate in bio-manufacturing, Thomas Lingelbach said in a Bloomberg interview Friday.

Discussions are at an early stage and the company may still retain the facility to manufacture other vaccines. Outside of a sale, Valneva is looking at transferring manufacturing from its original Scottish plant — Manson — to the Almeida facility and repurposing the older factory, Lingelbach said.

The facility is “a bit oversized” for the company’s vaccine portfolio, said Lingelbach. “At the end of the day it’s a matter of price because there will be an economic trade off” between the various options.

The British government and Valneva each agreed to invest about £14 million ($17.3 million) in the Livingston site when the deal was brokered in 2020. The agreement was designed to secure domestic production of Valneva’s Covid-19 vaccine, the only shot using the more traditional inactivated vaccine technology to reach advanced trials in the US and Europe, before the UK government canceled its $1.6 billion order in 2021 due to delays.

Lingelbach said the company will take a final decision on the Almeida factory this summer.

Vaccine Pipeline

Valneva, a specialty vaccine company, focuses on creating shots for unmet medical needs. It has a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis and is gearing up for the authorization of its shot against the mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya this year.

Pipeline assets include a vaccine for Lyme disease that the French drugmaker is developing with Pfizer Inc. The US pharma giant took an 8.1% stake in the company last year. Valneva is also looking at revisiting its research into a vaccine for Zika virus and a potential shot for human metapneumovirus, or HMPV, Lingelbach said.

HMPV is often misdiagnosed as respiratory syncytial virus, Lingelbach said, and with the first-ever vaccines against RSV coming online this year the market is moving toward HMPV-RSV combination vaccines. Valneva said previously it was exploring a potential partnership for its HMPV research with a company that has an RSV shot in its portfolio. 

Lingelbach wouldn’t comment on any discussions about a tie-up for the vaccines. Pfizer has two RSV shots set to be authorized this year, while GSK Plc was the first company to receive approval for an RSV vaccine earlier this month.

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