EU inks deal for up to 300 million doses of Sanofi, GSK coronavirus vaccine

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline on Friday said they finalised an advanced purchase agreement to supply the EU with up to 300 million doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine, once it is approved. The deal marks the second COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement sealed by the European Commission, after having earlier secured up to 400 million doses of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford's AZD1222 candidate.

The vaccine in the latest agreement combines recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi to produce an influenza vaccine, and GlaxoSmithKline's adjuvant technology. According to the companies, the EU will provide upfront funding to bolster their manufacturing capabilities on European soil. Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline noted that the antigen and final vaccine doses will be produced in European countries, leveraging the drugmakers' industrial sites in Belgium, Italy, Germany and France.

"Thanks in part to the agreement signed today, [we] are scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant with the intent to produce up to 1 billion doses per year overall to help meet…demand for vaccines worldwide," Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline stated. The companies aim to request approval in the first half of 2021 after starting a Phase I/II study earlier this month, with late-stage testing set to begin by the end of 2020.

EU looking to seal other deals 'soon'

Meanwhile the European Commission says it is continuing advance purchase discussions with Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac, as well as with Pfizer and partner BioNTech. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said "agreements with other companies will be concluded soon," in a bid to "build a diversified portfolio of promising vaccines, based on various types of technologies."

For Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, the deal follows a $2.1-billion advance purchase agreement with the US in July for 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, with an option for the US government to buy another 500 million, as well as a deal to deliver 60 million doses to the UK.

The partners said they plan to supply a "significant portion" of total worldwide available supply of their vaccine candidate in 2021-2022 to the so-called COVAX facility, a pooled procurement mechanism led in part by the World Health Organization for new COVID-19 vaccines.

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