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Sanofi, GSK partner to produce coronavirus vaccine by late 2021

By
Don Jacobson
Test samples for the coronavirus disease are seen at a testing site in Arlington, Va., on March 19. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
Test samples for the coronavirus disease are seen at a testing site in Arlington, Va., on March 19. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- Pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced Tuesday they will cooperate to develop a coronavirus vaccine they hope will be ready by late next year.

As part of the collaboration, Paris-based Sanofi will contribute its S-protein COVID-19 antigen, developed by using recombinant DNA technology -- and London-based GSK will contribute its adjuvant technology, which it says reduces the amount of vaccine protein required per dose.

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Sanofi officials said they have produced an exact genetic match for the proteins found on the surface of the novel coronavirus and have encoded it into an antigen to be placed on a bacterial delivery platform.

GSK said its technology is useful for pandemic situations in which a new vaccine must be scaled up as quickly as possible, for potential use in millions of people.

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"As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone," Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said. "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."

"This collaboration brings two of the world's largest vaccines companies together," added GSK CEO Emma Walmsley. "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."

The companies said they expect clinical trials to begin later this year. The collaboration is the industry's third so far to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

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NOVIO Pharmaceuticals said last week it has federal approval to begin the first stage of clinical testing for its INO-4800 vaccine candidate. Last month, biotech firm Moderna and the U.S. National Institutes of Health began "phase one" clinical testing for a potential vaccine.

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A health worker with the Israeli national emergency service, Magen David Adam, wears protective gear while taking swabs to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing center in East Jerusalem on August 26. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

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