The COVAX Facility is led by the Gavi vaccine alliance group, and has the goal of allowing companies and researchers to collaborate, and develop, produce and provide equitable access to COVID tests, treatments and vaccines. In service of this alliance, UK health giant GSK (LON:GSK) and French pharma blue chip Sanofi (EPA:SAN) have signed a Statement of Intent with Gavi, for the supply of 200 million COVID vaccine doses.
Once necessary approvals are gained, both companies say they will make their adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine available to the COVAX Facility, to contribute towards its goal of “[reaching] those in need, whoever they are and wherever they live”.
Speaking on the companies’ commitment, Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur, said:
“To address a global health crisis of this magnitude, it takes unique partnerships. The commitment we are announcing today for the COVAX Facility can help us together stand a better chance of bringing the pandemic under control. This moment also reflects our long-term commitment to global health and ensures our COVID-19 vaccines are affordable and accessible to those most at risk, everywhere in the world.”
Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines added:
“Since we started working on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, GSK has pledged to make them available to people around the world. We are proud to be working with Sanofi to make this adjuvanted recombinant protein-based vaccine available to the countries signed up to the COVAX Facility as soon as possible – this has the potential to be a significant contribution to the global fight against COVID-19.”
Having initiated the first of two phases of its trials on September 3, with 440 participants enrolled, GSK stated that it expects first results in early December 2020. It said these results being secured would be ‘pivotal’ to support the initiation of a Phase 3 study before the end of the year.
Should the data prove sufficient for licensure application, GSK said it will request regulatory approval during the first half of 2021. In parallel, GSK said that it and Sanofi had been scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant respectively.
The company adds that the use of an adjuvant technology is particularly important in a pandemic situation, given that it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose. It continued, saying that it does not expect profit to be made from the COVID vaccine during the pandemic phase, and said it will invest any short-term profit back into COVID-related research and long-term vaccine preparedness.