GSK and Sanofi shares could soar as pair start Covid-19 vaccine trials

Shares in the two pharmaceutical companies could soar in the months ahead as investors grow excited by the pair beginning coronavirus vaccine trials. But the WHO admits that vaccinations not expected until mid-2021.

  • GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi shares could soar as pair start Covid-19 vaccine trials
  • WHO warns coronavirus vaccines won’t be widespread until mid-2021
  • Race to find viable vaccine heats up among pharmaceutical companies

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi could see their shares soar in the months ahead as investors grow excited by the pair beginning coronavirus vaccine trials. But the WHO admits that vaccinations are not expected until mid-2021.

The two pharmaceutical companies announced that they had begun the first phase of a two part clinical trial of their Covid-19 vaccine which will involve 440 participants in the US.

GSK is trading marginally lower on Friday at £14.70 per share, with the stock down 17% year-to-date, while Sanofi is also slightly down in today’s session and is down 7% since the start of the year.

GSK and Sanofi Phase 1 trial results expected in 2020

GSK and Sanofi said that they expect to finalise their first set of results from the trial in early December, with the intention of starting a Phase 3 trial later that month.

‘The initiation of our clinical study is an important step and brings us closer to a potential vaccine which could help defeat Covid-19,’ Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and global head of Sanofi Pasteur, said.

‘Our dedicated teams and partner continue to work around the clock as we aim to deliver first results in early December. Positive data will enable a prompt start of the pivotal phase 3 trial by the end of this year,’ he added.

WHO says Covid-19 vaccinations not ready until mid-2021

Optimism is high due to the number of vaccinations going to trial at the moment, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that many will not be widespread until at least the middle of next year, with many checks required to test the effectiveness and viability of these vaccines.

‘We are really not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year,’ WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said at a UN briefing in Geneva.

‘This phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is,’ she added.

Race to find vaccine heats up

The race to find a vaccine is heating up, with AstraZeneca announcing earlier this week that it is holding advanced clinical trials for its own vaccine which it is developing in partnership with Oxford University.

The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company also said that it had struck a deal wit Oxford Biomedica to reserve production lines at the company's new manufacturing plant, after the UK government placing an order to 100 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

As the moment there are approximately 160 vaccines being trialled around the world by companies, including Moderna, as well as a partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech.

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