Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline reach deal with UK for 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced Wednesday an agreement with the UK government for the supply of up to 60 million doses of an adjuvanted vaccine against COVID-19 that is being developed by the companies under a partnership unveiled earlier this year. The vaccine candidate is based on Sanofi's recombinant protein-based technology and GlaxoSmithKline's pandemic adjuvant technology.

The French drugmaker is leading clinical development and registration of the COVID-19 vaccine and expects a Phase I/II study to start in September, followed by a Phase III trial before the end of the year.  If the data are positive, the companies indicated that regulatory approval could be achieved by the first half of 2021. Sanofi and GSK are also scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant to produce up to one billion doses of the vaccine per year.

Fourth vaccine for UK

Earlier this month, the UK government announced that it secured early access to 90 million doses of two COVID-19 vaccine candidates being developed by Valneva and a partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer. The government previously inked an agreement with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to secure 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate. Business Secretary Alok Sharma remarked it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates…to increase our chances of finding one that works." 

Meanwhile, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline noted that "active discussions" regarding supply of the vaccine are also ongoing with global organisations, the US and the European Commission. Roger Connor, president of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, said "we thank the UK government for confirmation of purchasing intent, which supports the significant investment we are already making as a company to scale up development and production of this vaccine."

A recent report suggested that Sanofi's talks with the European Commission over the supply of 300 million doses of the vaccine have stalled over disagreements related to payment. Sources suggested that the French drugmaker wants an upfront payment, while the European Commission is seeking to pay in tranches and delay some payments until the vaccine has passed large clinical trials.

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