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GlaxoSmithKline inked deals earlier this year to support the development of multiple adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidates and is now pledging to manufacture 1 billion doses of that efficacy-boosting system by 2021.
This morning, GSK said its pandemic adjuvant technology can make a significant contribution against COVID-19 as it has in a previous flu pandemic. The company is expanding its manufacturing efforts in Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States in order to meet this goal.
The company said its adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose. That in turn allows more vaccine doses to be produced and contributes to protecting more people, GSK, the world’s largest vaccine maker said. The global pharma giant added that an adjuvant can enhance the immune response and has been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections.
This year, GSK has struck several deals to provide its adjuvant for COVID-19 vaccines. The most significant deals are with Sanofi, Vir Biotechnology and China’s Innovax. The company has also struck deals with Clover Biopharmaceuticals and the University of Queensland in Australia. GSK said it is in continuing discussions with other vaccine makers regarding the use of its adjuvant technology in COVID-19-aimed vaccine candidates.
In order to meet the potential demand for its adjuvant technology, GlaxoSmithKline said it has begun to manufacture the adjuvant at risk, meaning it is increasing supply to meet potential demand and financing it without guarantee of some return. The company did note it is in discussions with some governments about funding.
Roger Connor, president of GSK Global Vaccines, said the company believes that more than one vaccine will be needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 5.7 million people across the globe and results in the deaths of more than 356,000. Connor said GSK is working with its vaccine development partners in hopes that its technology can boost the chances of a vaccine’s success. GSK has prioritized its efforts towards making its pandemic adjuvant technology available to partners developing promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are suitable for use with an adjuvant.
“We believe that our innovative pandemic adjuvant technology has the potential to help improve the efficacy and scale up of multiple COVID-19 vaccines. With this significant expansion in our manufacturing capacity, we can help deliver up to 1 billion doses of adjuvanted vaccines through 2021, helping protect many more people and support the global effort to fight COVID-19,” Connor said in a statement.
In its announcement, GSK said it is committed to ensuring fair access of its adjuvant technology in order to benefit the widest number of patients. The company said making the adjuvant available to the world’s poorest countries will also be a key part of these efforts, including donations, by working with governments and the global institutions that prioritize access.
“Overall GSK does not expect to profit from sales of its portfolio of collaborations for COVID-19 vaccines made during this pandemic phase, as profit generated will be invested in support of coronavirus related research and long-term pandemic preparedness, either through GSK’s internal investments, or with external partners,” the company said.