Glaxo signs up Medicago for its third Covid-19 vaccine

With several Covid-19 vaccine programmes already well into phase II trials, yesterday’s tie-up between Glaxosmithkline and Mitsubishi Tanabe's Canadian subsidiary Medicago is a late entrant to this race. The project will combine Medicago's recombinant coronavirus virus-like particles – designed to mimic the structure of the virus, thus priming the immune system – with Glaxo’s pandemic adjuvant. Phase I trials of three doses of the particles combined with Glaxo’s adjuvant and, in parallel, an adjuvant from another company, are planned to start mid-month. If the partners’ schedule of launching the vaccine in the first half of 2021 and producing 100 million doses by the end of next year looks aggressive it is nothing compared with their longer-term plans: Medicago is building a production base in Quebec intended to yield a billion doses a year from 2023. What Glaxo’s move says about its belief in its other Covid-19 vaccine programmes, one in partnership with Sanofi and another with China's Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Dynavax, is open to interpretation. Still, if any other parties are interested in getting a piece of this new project, the tobacco firm Philip Morris says it is interested in selling the one-third stake it owns in Medicago.

Glaxo's Covid-19 vaccine programmes
Partner(s) Vaccine Type Detail
Dynavax & Clover SCB-2019 Trimerised fusion protein Ph 1 data possible Aug 2020; ph 2b/3 planned for end 2020
Sanofi Unnamed S-protein antigen Ph 1 planned for H2 2020; launch planned for H2 2021
Medicago (Mitsubishi Tanabe) Unnamed Coronavirus virus-like particles  Ph 1 planned for mid-Jul 2020; launch planned for H1 2021
Source: company statements.

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