Two of the world’s biggest drug companies have announced plans to collaborate on producing a coronavirus vaccine, and produce millions of doses. UK company GSK and its French rival Sanofi believe they can have a candidate vaccine ready for clinical trials later this year, and a completed version available by the end of 2021.
‘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,’ said Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GSK, adding, ‘We’re committed to making any vaccine that’s developed through the collaboration affordable to the public.’
The timescale is ambitious, given that most vaccines take between five and seven years to develop. But by combining Sanofi’s work on antigens, through a shelved vaccine for SARS; and GSK’s expertise in adjuvants, which boost the immune response to a vaccine. ‘As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone,’ said Paul Hudson, chief executive of Sanofi.
‘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,’ added Ms. Walmsley.