By Raheem Akingbolu
French biopharmaceutical giant, Sanofi and British rival GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), have gone into partnership to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19, which, if successful, will be commercialised in the second half of next year, the French firm said in a release.
“This collaboration brings together two of the world’s largest vaccines companies. By combining our scientific expertise, technologies and capabilities, we believe that we can help accelerate the global effort to develop a vaccine to protect as many people as possible from covid-19,” GSK chief executive officer (CEO), Emma Walmsley, said in the release.
According to the statement, Sanofi would contribute its S-protein covid-19 antigen, which has produced an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus, and the DNA sequence encoding, is the basis of Sanofi’s licensed recombinant influenza product in the US.
On the other hand, GSK would provide its proven pandemic adjuvant technology, which is an immunological agent added to a vaccine to boost its immune response to produce more antibodies and long-lasting immunity.
The two firms have set up a joint task force, co-chaired by Sanofi’s global head of vaccines David Loew and GSK’s president of vaccines business Roger Connor.
“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,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson.
The two parners have however indicated that the first phase of clinical trials will start in the second half of this year.