- Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline plan to supply 200 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine to the investment facility for COVAX, an international group working to equitably distribute COVID-19 treatments around the globe.
- The agreement depends on regulatory approval, and the companies hope to file for clearance in the first half of 2021 if their shot succeeds in clinical testing. Sanofi and GSK began an early-stage trial of their vaccine in September and intend to start a phase 3 study in December.
- With no natural immunity to the novel coronavirus, there’s demand in every corner of the world for a safe and effective vaccine. COVAX aims to help allocate doses across the globe, especially to countries that can't afford to pre-order a large supply. More than 180 countries and economies have already signed up with the COVAX Facility, which has secured access to doses of vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax.
The COVAX agreement illustrates the extraordinary steps being taken to fight the global pandemic.
Wealthier countries, including the U.S., have spent months locking up future supplies of as-yet unproven vaccines. COVAX, made up of governments, health organizations, businesses and philanthropies, intends to make sure that other nations have access as well, with a plan to secure 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021.
All of the companies involved in the effort are working at an unprecedented pace to produce vaccines, which generally take years to develop, test and manufacture. Pfizer and Moderna have said they may have enough data to support an application for emergency clearance in the U.S. before the end of the year.
Sanofi and GSK’s effort is on a slower timeline, but they are working on a more traditional protein-based vaccine, which may deliver a more potent shot and win greater acceptance among the public. That’s important as polls show Americans are becoming less willing to take the first vaccine available amid worries that drugmakers and regulators are being rushed by President Trump’s administration.
GSK and Sanofi signed the statement of intent with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is coordinating the COVAX Facility and acts as its legal administrator.
The U.S. government has already ordered 100 million doses of the Sanofi and GSK shot, with an option to buy up to 500 million more. The two companies have also agreed to supply up to 60 million doses to the U.K.