Sanofi and GSK to collaborate on COVID-19 vaccine development

Sanofi will provide its S protein antigen and GSK will contribute its adjuvant technology in a partnership to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have announced that they have signed a letter of intent to enter into a collaboration for the development of an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19 to help address the ongoing pandemic.

Sanofi will contribute its Spike (S) protein COVID-19 antigen, which is based on recombinant DNA technology. This technology has produced an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus and then the DNA sequence encoding this antigen has been combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform.

GSK will contribute its proven pandemic adjuvant technology to the collaboration. The use of an adjuvant may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing to protect more people. 

Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sanofi, said: “As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone. That is why Sanofi is continuing to complement its expertise and resources with our peers, such as GSK, with the goal to create and supply sufficient quantities of vaccines that will help stop this virus.”

Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK, said: “This collaboration brings two of the world’s largest vaccines companies together. By combining our science and our technologies, we believe we can help accelerate the global effort to develop a vaccine to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19.”

The companies plan to initiate Phase I 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. 

Sanofi’s development of the recombinant-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate is being supported through funding and a collaboration with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The companies plan to discuss funding support with other governments and global institutions prioritising global access.

BARDA Director, Dr Rick Bright, said: “Strategic alliances among vaccine industry leaders are essential to make a coronavirus vaccine available as soon as possible. Development of the adjuvanted recombinant-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate holds the potential to lower the vaccine dose to provide vaccine to a greater number of people to end this pandemic and help the world become better prepared or even prevent future coronavirus outbreaks.”

The companies have also established a Joint Collaboration Task Force, co-chaired by David Loew, Global Head of Vaccines at Sanofi and Roger Connor, President of Vaccines at GSK. The taskforce will seek to mobilise resources from both companies to look for every opportunity to accelerate the development of the candidate vaccine.

The companies have entered into a Material Transfer Agreement to enable them to start working together immediately. Definitive terms of the collaboration are expected to be finalised over the next few weeks.

One response to “Sanofi and GSK to collaborate on COVID-19 vaccine development”

  1. TZ says:

    Older people (>60) are at a much higher risk to die with Covid-19. The fast experimentation (sorry for the expression) of a new vaccine on older people would be a more acceptable risk. It is like the use of Remdesivir on compassionate ground for the ctitically sick patients.

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