Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline snag biggest coronavirus vaccine deal yet

U.S. to pay $2.1 billion to Sanofi GSK in COVID-19 vaccine deal

U.S. to pay $2.1 billion to Sanofi GSK in COVID-19 vaccine deal

London-based GlaxoSmithKline is responsible for making a so-called "adjuvant" substance that helps to make vaccines work better. If the data are positive, the companies can request United States regulatory approval in the first half of 2021.

BARDA partnered with the DoD Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense and the Army Contracting Command to furnish the funding-which Sanofi said will secure the scale-up of Sanofi's and GSK's manufacturing capabilities in the US for the vaccine, resulting in a significant increase in capacity. "Today's investment supports our latest vaccine candidate, an adjuvanted product being developed by Sanofi and GSK, 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 earlier received about $30 million from the Department of Health and Human Services in February for early-stage development of the vaccine.

"We thank the USA government for playing a very important role in providing early, significant funding to enable the development and scale-up of this potentially important vaccine", said Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines. This multiagency effort, known as Operation Warp Speed, is placing bets on multiple vaccines and is paying companies to manufacture millions of doses before clinical trials have been completed. The company said it "does not expect to profit from our portfolio of collaborations for COVID-19 vaccines during this pandemic". The vaccine is among 25 others in clinical trials around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

In May, French Junior Economy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said it would be "unacceptable" that the USA may be the first nation to get access to a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sanofi, which is a French company. "We look forward to this trial demonstrating the potential of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so that we can defeat this pandemic".

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Sanofi of France and UK-based GSK will produce 100 million doses, at two per person.

The U.S. also has an option to secure an additional 500 million doses over the long-term, Sanofi said.

As in earlier deals, the contract with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline was made under the auspices of the Trump administration's "Operation Warp Speed", which aims to secure 300 million vaccine doses for the U.S.by January 2021.

"It is a huge conflict of interest for the White House's new vaccine czar to own $10 million of stock in a company receiving government funding to develop a Covid-19 vaccine", Warren tweeted.

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