Sanofi, GSK come together to develop a vaccine for COVID-19
Pharma majors Sanofi and GSK on Tuesday said they have joined hands to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
The companies, in a joint statement, said they have signed a letter of intent to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19 using innovative technology from both firms to help address the ongoing pandemic.
As per the partnership, France-based Sanofi will contribute its S-protein COVID-19 antigen, which is based on recombinant DNA technology.
The technology has produced an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus and is the basis of Sanofi's licensed recombinant influenza product in the US.
London-headquartered GSK, on the other hand, will contribute its proven pandemic adjuvant technology.
The use of an adjuvant can be of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing to protect more people.
"As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can do it alone," Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said. That is why Sanofi is continuing to complement its expertise and resources with peers, such as GSK, with the goal to create and supply sufficient quantities of vaccines that will help stop this virus, he added.
"By combining our scientific expertise, technologies, and capabilities, we believe that we can help accelerate the global effort to develop a vaccine to protect as many people as possible from Covid-19," GSK CEO Emma Walmsley said.
The companies plan to initiate phase one clinical trials in the second half of 2020, and if successful, subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021.
The entities have set up a joint task force, co-chaired by David Loew, Global Head of Vaccines, Sanofi and Roger Connor, President Vaccines, GSK.
The taskforce will seek to mobilise resources from both companies to look for every opportunity to accelerate the development of the candidate vaccine.