UPDATE 1-EU to close preliminary talks this week with Valneva over COVID-19 vaccine

(adds Novavax)

BRUSSELS, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The European Commission plans to conclude this week preliminary talks with French company Valneva over the advance purchase of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, EU top negotiator Sandra Gallina told lawmakers on Tuesday.

“We intend to launch this week a tender procedure for Valneva,” Gallina said in a hearing in the EU Parliament, confirming a Reuters report from Monday.

She said the EU was also trying to conclude a supply deal with Novavax.

“We hope to be buying doses of Novavax,” she said. Preliminary talks with the U.S. vaccine makers were wrapped up on Dec. 17. for the supply of up to 200 million doses. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio Editing by Catherine Evans)