French pharma company Sanofi has announced a COVID-19 vaccine partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for the novel coranavirus, by combining their drug discovery technologies.
Sanofi will provide its S-protein Covid-19 antigen based on recombinant DNA technology to the partnership. The technology is said to be used for generating an exact genetic match to proteins present on the SARS-CoV-2’s surface.
Additionally, Sanofi combined the DNA sequence encoding the antigen with the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, which supported the company’s licensed recombinant influenza product in the US.
GSK, on the other hand, will provide its pandemic adjuvant technology to the COVID-19 vaccine partnership.
Commenting on the COVID-19 vaccine partnership, Emma Walmsley – GSK CEO 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”.
According to Sanofi, the use of an adjuvant in a pandemic situation could reduce the amount of vaccine protein needed per dose, thereby enabling the production of more vaccine doses.
Sanofi, further said that the combination of a protein-based antigen and an adjuvant is generally used in vaccines that are currently available. The addition of an adjuvant to some vaccines could boost the immune response and deliver a stronger and longer immunity to fight infections, said Sanofi.
The COVID-19 vaccine partners are set to launch phase 1 clinical trials in the second half of this year. If successful and approved by regulators, Sanofi and GSK aim to complete the development of the coronavirus vaccine for availability by the second half of the coming year.
Sanofi previously said that the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is financing the development of the recombinant-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
Paul Hudson – CEO of Sanofi, commenting on the COVID-19 vaccine partnership, 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.”