GSK is working to clear the ground in the vaccine race

GlaxoSmithKline banks that it could get back from the back of the race for a Covid-19 vaccine and play an important role in preparing for new pandemics after positive test data is released.

The vaccine maker is talking to governments including the UK about creating vaccine -making facilities in their home, and investing heavily in mRNA, the technology behind successful shots from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna.

GSK did not provide of any of the first generations of Covid-19 vaccines, after a trial last year with with it in France Sanofi had to be done again due to a management error. The company chose to provide an adjuvant that increased the effectiveness of multiple vaccines to multiple partners, rather than make the shot itself.

GSK and Sanofi published data from the second phase 2 trial on Monday showing a strong resistance response from participants of all ages, with people recovering from Covid-19 achieving good antibody levels after a single dose. The companies said they were targeting regulatory approval by the end of the year with phase 3 trials starting in the “coming weeks”.

The results come after positive pre-clinical data about the second-generation GSK vaccine with German biotech CureVac was released last week, and while Medicago, its Canadian partner, is going through a phase of 3 trials.

Roger Connor, head of vaccines at GSK, spoke at Financial Period the company “licked its wounds” after a “disappointing” deficit.

Now, he says it could play a big role in the next phase of the pandemic and because Covid-19 has become an endemic disease. He said the vaccine with Sanofi promises even better as a booster, and the CureVac mRNA vaccine can target multiple species at once.

“People will see that we are not ahead, though, we are still in this career,” he added.

The results of the study are also an extension of Sanofi, which was the second-largest manufacturer of the vaccine in pre-pandemic sales after GSK, but fell last year in the race to develop Covid- vaccines. 19. It also has a jab down on advances based on mRNA technology.

Sanofi’s failure to bring a Covid-19 vaccine to market has been the subject of much debate in France as critics see it as a symbol of the country’s declining science. The vaccination campaign in France has off to a slow start but has since accelerated to put it in the middle of the EU pack of doses administered to the population, but behind Germany, Italy, and Spain, according to our World of Data.

GSK is under pressure from investors to show that it is strengthening its profit line, before shutting down the consumer division next year. Hedge fund Elliott Management got a multibillion-pound stake and pushed for change. The company plans to reveal what the rest of the business, which combines drugs and vaccines, will look like on an investor’s day in June.

Connor said GSK’s vaccine business is a “crown jewel” that is less appreciated, increasing revenue by 50 percent and doubling revenue in the past four years.

Growth was driven by products like Shingrix shot for the elderly and he pointed to a potential first vaccine for RSV, a common respiratory disease, as a possible success in the pipeline.

As some analysts have emerged to separate vaccines from the pharma business, Connor argues that he has partnered with Hal Barron, head of research and development at GSK, and the businesses have synergies due to outsiders. science of the immune system.

The pandemic has gained new small players including Moderna, BioNTech and Novavax who are in the ranks of the leading vaccine makers. While supply is constrained this year, companies with approved vaccines are significantly expanding production for 2022 and beyond, which some analysts think will create a crowded market.

But Connor said GSK still has a “strong portfolio of industry technology”, which has attracted interest from governments seeking to prepare for future pandemics by investing in R&D and production capacity. He says mRNA is an “exciting platform”, many diseases where it doesn’t work and so it’s important to have other options.

“We are at a strategic point of growth as a vaccine industry,” he said. “Vaccination awareness is growing, which will only improve market opportunity, [and] technologies are running at a pace we never thought possible. ”

Further reporting by Leila Abboud

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