European Union wraps up Sanofi talks aimed at securing coronavirus vaccine

Henrietta Brewer
August 1, 2020

"With our partner GSK, we expect our Phase I/II study for the recombinant adjuvanted approach to start in September", added Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi's vaccine business Sanofi Pasteur.

If the data are positive, the companies said they can request regulatory approval in the first half of 2021.

The new deal works out nearly the same price per treatment as the 2 billion dollar award last week to Pfizer and BioNTech.

This initiative falls under the USA government's Operation Warp Speed. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received about $618 million to develop an antibody drug and provide the USA with thousands of doses, if the drug is authorized by regulators.

Earlier in May, Sanofi was under fire for remarks saying that once its vaccine under research goes to market, the US had the right to pre-order because it has invested in it.

A Commission spokesman said he could not comment on when a deal would be announced and the possible price for the vaccine, calling it a quite promising step towards an eventual agreement.

"We are in advanced discussions with several other companies".

"It is a huge conflict of interest for the White House's new vaccine czar to own $10 million of stock in a company receiving government funding to develop a Covid-19 vaccine", Warren tweeted.

"The US government will provide up to $2.1 billion, more than half of which is to support further development of the vaccine, including clinical trials", the companies said in a statement.

The remainder will be used to ramp up manufacturing, and deliver the finished product.

An additional option in the contract will allow the USA government to purchase an additional 500 million doses.

Sanofi and GSK did not say how much of the federal money would go to each company - only that Sanofi would receive the most. Other leading vaccine makers are moving into Phase 3 studies using two-shot regimens.

The two companies' inoculation is combination of a vaccine based on Sanofi's flu shots and a complementary technology from GSK called an adjuvant, created to improve the vaccine's potency.

The Commission is now negotiating with several vaccine developers to strike similar deals, it stated, adding that it is ready to team up with worldwide partners if a "significant number of countries would agree to pool resources for jointly reserving future vaccines from companies for themselves" and for low and middle-income countries at the same time. The deal also allows the government to acquire up to 500 million additional doses after the initial order.

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