Sanofi CEO Says Americans to Get Potential Virus Vaccine First

French drugmaker Sanofi (SNY) said that the U.S. would likely get its Covid-19 vaccine first once it is available.

“The U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in an interview with Bloomberg News. The U.S., which expanded a vaccine partnership with the company in February, expects “that if we’ve helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first.”

Hudson cautioned that Europe needs to step up efforts to find protection against the pandemic if it doesn’t want to fall behind.

Last month Sanofi entered into a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to jointly develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19. The two companies said they expected a candidate vaccine to enter Phase 1 clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful, they plan to make it available in the second half of 2021. The vaccine candidate is being supported through funding by the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

While funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority puts the U.S. first in line, the country may be only days or weeks ahead of everyone else, Hudson said.

“I’ve been campaigning in Europe to say the U.S. will get vaccines first,” Hudson said. “That’s how it will be because they’ve invested to try and protect their population, to restart their economy.”

Sanofi also announced that it is in talks with the European Union and the French and German governments to accelerate regional vaccine development.

Separately to its GSK collaboration, Sanofi’s vaccines division Sanofi Pasteur in March partnered with Translate Bio (TBIO) for the development of a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine against Covid-19.

Shares in Sanofi were down 2.3% to $47.20 in pre-market U.S. trading. The stock has soared 27% in the past two months.

TipRanks data shows that Goldman Sachs and Argus Research both have a Buy rating on the stock. The $56 price target set by Argus Research reflects 16% upside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Sanofi stock analysis on TipRanks).

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