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GSK and Sanofi to work together on Covid-19 vaccine

Two of the ‘world’s largest vaccine companies’ agree to jointly develop coronavirus vaccine

Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, two of the world’s “largest vaccines companies”, have joined forces to create a vaccine against Covid-19.

The companies announced on 14 April that they had signed a letter of intent to collaborate to jointly develop an ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine for the disease using technology from both companies.

Sanofi will contribute its S-protein Covid-19 antigen, which is genetically identical to proteins found on the surface of the virus, with GSK providing adjuvant technology.

Adjuvants are added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response. It may also reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced.

The candidate vaccine is expected to enter clinical trials in the second half of 2020, with the aim of making it available for use in the second half of 2021.

Emma Walmsley, chief executive 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.”

Paul Hudson, chief executive of Sanofi, added: “As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no 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.”

GSK is already supporting three other candidate vaccine projects, with collaborators in Australia, China, France and the United States, according to the Draft landscape of Covid-19 candidate vaccines published by the World Health Organization on 11 April.