Have Glaxo and Sanofi been snubbed by Project Warp Speed?
Inovio investors were rattled this week by reports that the company was no longer in consideration for the White House’s “Project Warp Speed”. Executives at Glaxosmithkline and Sanofi were probably feeling the burn of rejection more keenly. The US government-backed programme is seeking a Covid-19 vaccine to accelerate with cash and expertise; according to the New York Times five candidates remain in the running, with the finalist due to be selected soon. Inovio is a tiny player whereas Sanofi and Glaxo are two of the world’s biggest vaccine makers. Glaxo in particular must be smarting: Warp Speed’s chief adviser is Moncef Slaoui, who worked at the UK pharma giant for decades, and for a time led its vaccine arm. True, neither of the two companies’ candidates, one of which is being developed jointly, has yet reached the clinic, but then nor has any from Merck, which only entered the game last month. The combined scale of these apparently snubbed operators makes their efforts hard to overlook, particularly when newcomer Moderna made the cut; Mr Slaoui has also served as a board member here. With Bloomberg now reporting that another two unnamed companies are in fact on the shortlist, perhaps a wrong has been hurriedly righted.
|Travelling at warp speed? The five Covid-19 vaccine players shortlisted, and other clinical candidates|
|Reported as selected for Project Warp Speed|
|Uni of Oxford/ Astrazeneca||AZD1222 (COV001)||Chimp adenovirus vaccine||Data from 1,100-patient trial expected imminently|
|Moderna/NIAID/Cepi||mRNA-1273||mRNA vaccine||Small amount of phase I data released; phase II trial recruiting|
|Biontech/Pfizer||BNT162||mRNA vaccine||First cohorts dosed in phase I/II trial|
|Johnson & Johnson||No product code||Adenovirus type 26 vaccine||Phase I to start Sep 2020|
|Merck/Themis||No product code||Measles virus vector vaccine||Clinical studies to start later this year|
|Other clinical stage projects, not on the list|
|Inovio||INO-4800||DNA vaccine||Enrolment in phase I trial complete, results expected Jun; phase II/III planned in summer|
|Cansino/Academy of Military Medical Sciences||Ad5-nCoV||Adenovirus type 5 vaccine||China study under way|
|Shenzhen Genoimmune||LV-SMENP-DC||Synthetic minigene vaccine||Clinical trial started Mar 2020|
|Sinovac||CoronaVac||Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine||Phase I trial recruiting in China|
|Source: EvaluatePharma & company statements.|