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GSK, CureVac to develop vaccine against COVID-19 variants

GSK, CureVac to develop vaccine against COVID-19 variants

Company logo of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is seen at their Stevenage facility in Britain, Oct 26, 2020. (File photo: REUTERS/Matthew Childs)

LONDON: British pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline and German biotech firm CureVac on Wednesday (Feb 3) announced plans to jointly develop a coronavirus vaccine with the potential to counter multi-variants of COVID-19.

"The development programme will begin immediately, with the target of introducing the vaccine in 2022, subject to regulatory approval," a joint statement said.

READ: Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine remained active against South Africa variant, effect reduced - study

GSK will also support the manufacture this year of up to 100 million doses of CureVac's first generation COVID-19 vaccine, it added.

The collaboration, building on an existing relationship, is to develop next generation COVID-19 vaccines "with the potential for a multivalent approach to address multiple emerging variants in one vaccine".

The pair noted that "the increase in emerging variants with the potential to reduce the efficacy of first generation COVID-19 vaccines requires acceleration of efforts to develop vaccines against new variants to keep one step ahead of the pandemic".

GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley said "next generation vaccines will be crucial in the continued fight against COVID-19".

The value of the new collaboration was put at €150 million (US$181 million).

READ: Pfizer-BioNTech say COVID-19 vaccine works against UK, South Africa virus mutations

READ: Moderna says vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants; testing extra booster for South African strain

"We are very pleased to build on our existing relationship with GSK with a new agreement," said CureVac chief executive Franz-Werner Haas.

"With the help of GSK's proven vaccine expertise, we are equipping ourselves to tackle future health challenges with novel vaccines."

For GSK, the world's largest vaccine maker by sales, it marks a fresh attempt to play a relevant role in fighting the pandemic after a COVID-19 alliance with Sanofi was hobbled by development delays and after a similar collaboration with China's Clover Biopharmaceuticals was ended.

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Source: AGENCIES/dv/jt

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