Sanofi And GSK To Join Forces In Vaccine Collaboration To Fight COVID-19
Sanofi and GSK today announced that they have signed a letter of intent to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies, to help address the ongoing pandemic.
Sanofi will contribute its 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 virus, and the DNA sequence encoding this antigen has been combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of Sanofi’s licensed recombinant influenza product in the US.
GSK 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 go it alone.” says Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi. “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.”
“This collaboration brings together two of the world’s largest vaccines companies.” says Emma Walmsley, Chief Executive Officer, GSK. “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.”
The combination of a protein-based antigen together with an adjuvant is well- established and used in a number of vaccines available today. An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response and has been shown to create a stronger and longer- lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone. It can also improve the likelihood of delivering an effective vaccine that can be manufactured at scale.
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