GSK and Sanofi partner up to find Covid-19 vaccine

The two pharmaceutical companies have joined forces to create a vaccine for Covid-19.

UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and France-based Sanofi have joined forces to help manufacture a vaccine for Covid-19.

The two pharmaceutical companies have partnered up as combined the pair have the largest vaccine capabilities in the world, with both believing that by working together they create a vaccine for the virus that could be ready for human trials within months.

If successful, the pair’s capacity will allow them to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses that are likely to be required worldwide.

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 to the collaboration.

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.

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.

GSK-Sanofi partnership ‘unprecedented’

GSK CEO Emma Walmsley labelled the collaborative effort as ‘unprecedented’.

‘What is not common is you’ve got two of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in the world coming together,’ she added. ‘Both bring significant manufacturing capacity. We believe we’ll be able to make hundreds of millions of doses by the end of next year.’

Walmsley’s counterpart at Sanofi admitted that ‘no one company can go it alone’ in the fight against Covid-19 which has brought about an unparalleled global health crisis.

‘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,’ Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in a statement.

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