Health And Wellness

2 Of The World'S Biggest Drugmakers Just Teamed Up On A Coronavirus Vaccine, And They'Re Aiming To Launch It Next Year

Two of the world's largest drugmakers are now working together to develop a coronavirus vaccine.


Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced the collaboration Tuesday morning. They aim to start testing a potential vaccine in humans later this year to be ready for use in the second half of 2021. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.


The two European pharmas each bring decades of experience in vaccine development. Their combined market value exceeds $200 billion and they employ roughly 200,000 workers.


"As the world's leading vaccine manufacturer, our number one focus is to help to develop a vaccine," GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley said on a Tuesday call with reporters. "This is, of course, core to the exit plan that the world needs."


Sanofi will use an antigen targeting the coronavirus' signature spike protein, and GSK will provide an adjuvant, which can reduce the amount of vaccine needed per dose. The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has partially funded Sanofi's vaccine research.


BARDA Director Rick Bright said in a statement this collaboration "holds the potential to lower the vaccine dose to provide vaccine to a greater number of people to end this pandemic, and help the world become better prepared or even prevent future coronavirus outbreaks."


There are now 70 vaccine research efforts underway, according to the World Health Organization. Even in tapping the resources of the two drugmaking giants, the world will likely need multiple vaccines to meet the unprecedented global demand for a coronavirus vaccine, GSK executives said.


"Both companies bring significant manufacturing capacity," Walmsley said. "While we have a lot of work to do, given that this is in an early stage of development, we believe that if we're successful, we'll be able to make hundreds of millions of doses annually by the end of next year."


Sanofi and GSK stated they "are committed to making any vaccine that is developed through the collaboration affordable to the public." They said they plan to "offer fair access for people in all countries." Walmsley added this will likely include donations to some of the poorest countries.

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