Sanofi and GSK have announced a collaborative effort with the US government to accelerate the development and manufacturing of a COVID-19 recombinant protein-based vaccine.
The vaccine candidate, developed by Sanofi in partnership with GSK, is based on the recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi to produce an influenza vaccine, and GSK’s established pandemic adjuvant technology.
Collaborating with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense will help fund the development activities and secure scale-up of Sanofi’s and GSK’s manufacturing capabilities in the United States for the recombinant protein-based, adjuvanted vaccine, resulting in a significant increase in capacity.
The US government will provide up to $2.1 billion, more than half of which is to support further development of the vaccine, including clinical trials, with the remainder used for manufacturing scale-up and delivery of an initial 100 million doses of the vaccine. Sanofi will receive the majority of the US government funding. The US. government has a further option for the supply of an additional 500 million doses longer term. This helps the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed goals of providing millions of doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
“The global need for a vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 is massive, and no single vaccine or company will be able to meet the global demand alone,” said Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur. “From the beginning of the pandemic, Sanofi has leveraged its deep scientific expertise and resources to help address this crisis, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to unlock a rapid path toward developing a pandemic vaccine and manufacturing at large scale. With our partner GSK, we expect our Phase 1/2 study for the recombinant adjuvanted approach to start in September.”
Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines added, “GSK is proud to be working in US government for playing a very important role in providing early, significant funding to enable the development and scale-up of this potentially important vaccine.”
“The portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed increases the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s investment supports the Sanofi and GSK adjuvanted product all the way through clinical trials and manufacturing, with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of safe and effective doses to the American people.”
Sanofi is leading the clinical development and registration of the COVID-19 vaccine and expects a Phase 1/2 study to start in September, followed by a Phase 3 study by the end of 2020. If the data are positive, the companies can request US regulatory approval in the first half of 2021. In parallel, Sanofi and GSK are scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant to produce up to one billion doses per year globally.
Active discussions are ongoing with global organisations and with the EU Commission – with France and Italy on the negotiation team on supplying European countries from Sanofi’s and GSK’s European industrial network. The partners also plan to provide a significant portion of total worldwide available supply capacity in 2021/22 to the global initiative, “Access to COVID‐19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator,” a global collaboration of leaders of governments, global health organizations, businesses and philanthropies to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
In addition to the recombinant protein-based vaccine in collaboration with GSK, Sanofi is also developing a messenger RNA vaccine candidate in partnership with Translate Bio. With several innovative vaccine platforms currently being investigated across the industry, mRNA is considered among the most promising. Sanofi expects a Phase 1 study to start by the end of the year, and, if the data are positive, an approval at the earliest in the second half of 2021. Translate Bio has established mRNA manufacturing capacity and Sanofi expects to be able to supply annual capacity of 90 to 360 million doses.
Image credit: James Kenny