Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have reached a deal with the British government that will secure up to 60 million doses of the drugmakers’ experimental COVID-19 vaccine for the UK.
While the financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, the UK signaled its intent to purchase the vaccine doses, supporting the companies’ scaling up of production, according to Roger Connor, president of GSK Vaccines.
Kate Bingham, the chair of the UK’s Vaccines Taskforce, said that securing a diverse array of vaccines is an important component of the UK’s COVID-19 response, as it’s not yet known which vaccine will work.
The drugmakers are currently in active discussions with the U.S. and the European Union about vaccine supply deals, with France and Italy leading the European negotiations.
The experimental messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine was developed by Sanofi and uses GSK’s pandemic adjuvant technology. A phase 1/2 study is expected to get under way in September, followed by a phase 3 study by the end of the year, and regulatory approval could be secured by the first half of 2021 if the trials produce positive results, Sanofi said.
Moderna, whose mRNA vaccine candidate recently entered phase 3 trials, said Wednesday that it will price its vaccine to enable broad access to it. CEO Stéphane Bancel did not confirm reports that the company is considering a price of between $50 and $60 for a two-dose regimen (DID, July 28).
The company’s candidate has shown promising preliminary results in a phase 1 study led by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In the trial, the vaccine was generally safe and well tolerated and generated immune responses in all participants (DID, May 19). — James Miessler