4 Firms Steer French COVID-19 Vaccine Maker's $94M US IPO

By Tom Zanki
Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our weekly newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the weekly Coronavirus briefing.

Sign up for our Life Sciences newsletter

You must correct or enter the following before you can sign up:

Select more newsletters to receive for free [+] Show less [-]

Thank You!

Law360 (May 6, 2021, 7:03 PM EDT) -- A French maker of traveler vaccines with a COVID-19 candidate in the pipeline went public to receptive U.S. investors Thursday after completing a $93.5 million initial public offering, guided by four law firms including Cooley, Hogan Lovells and Goodwin Procter.

Valneva SE sold nearly 7.1 million ordinary shares at $26.41 each — or €11 — in between the company's previously stated range of $24.04 and $28.85. Valneva's offering contained the sale of American Depositary shares, which represent two ordinary shares, along with a concurrent private placement sold to European and non-U.S. investors.

Saint-Herblain-based Valneva, which is already listed on Euronext Paris, is represented by Cooley LLP and Hogan Lovells LLP on its U.S. IPO. Goodwin Procter LLP and French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel advised the underwriters.

Shares of Valneva rose $1.94, or 7.4%, to close at $28.35, in debut trading Thursday on the Nasdaq exchange. The company's stock trades under the symbol "VALN."

Valneva said IPO proceeds will help develop three vaccines, including one designed to prevent Lyme disease and another candidate that would fight chikungunya virus, which causes fever and joint pain and typically spreads by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Valneva is also developing a vaccine candidate, VLA2001, against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The company said VLA2001 is the only inactivated vaccine candidate for COVID-19 in clinical trials in Europe and will address the "urgent, global need for billions of doses of vaccines."

"We believe that, if approved, our vaccine, as an inactivated virus vaccine, could offer benefits in terms of safety, cost, ease of manufacture and distribution compared to currently approved vaccines and could be adapted to offer protection against mutations of the virus," Valneva told the Securities and Exchange Commission in its registration statement.

Valneva is the second European vaccine maker focused on stopping the coronavirus pandemic to recently go public in the U.S.

U.K.-based Vaccitech PLC, which co-invented a COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford that has since been licensed to pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for distribution in Europe, raised $110.5 million in a U.S. IPO on April 29.

Valneva already has two commercial vaccines, one that prevents of Japanese encephalitis and another that prevents cholera. Both are marketed to travelers in regions where the targeted diseases are endemic. 

The company did not immediately return a request seeking comment on its IPO.

Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE, Jefferies LLC, Guggenheim Securities LLC and Bryan Garnier Securities are underwriting Valneva's offering.

A Cooley team led by partners David Boles, Marc Recht and Div Gupta is advising Valneva on U.S. law matters, while a Hogan Lovells Paris LLP team led by partner Jean-Marc Franceschi is advising the company on French legal matters.

A Goodwin team led by partners Robert Puopolo, Edwin O'Connor and Seo Salimi and a Gide Loyrette Nouel team led by partner Arnaud Duhamel and counsel Guilhem Richard are guiding the underwriters.

--Editing by Philip Shea.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!