British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has joined forces with French pharma company Sanofi for the development of an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19 disease.
The companies have signed a letter of intent to enter into collaboration for the development of a novel coronavirus vaccine by using their technologies.
GSK CEO Emma Walmsley 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.”
Under the deal, Sanofi will provide its S-protein COVID-19 antigen that is based on recombinant DNA technology.
Sanofi’s technology has generated an exact genetic match to proteins observed on the surface of the virus, while the DNA sequence encoding this antigen has been aggregated into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of Sanofi’s licenced recombinant influenza product in the US.
GSK will offer its pandemic adjuvant technology, which helps to decrease the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, enabling to produce more vaccine doses.
GSK and Sanofi are planning to start phase I clinical trials in the second half of this year. Based on the success and regulatory considerations, the companies intend to complete the development needed for availability by the second half of 2021.
Earlier, Sanofi has announced the development of the recombinant-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate is being supported via funding and collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in the US.
GSK and Sanofi are also planning to negotiate with other governments and global institutions for funding support to the new vaccine.
Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson 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.”