The United Kingdom government has signed another coronavirus vaccine deal, securing up to 60 million doses of an experimental treatment being developed by drug giants GSK and Sanofi.
The UK government in its three last deals has secured almost 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca.
It has also secured, regardless of its uncertain effectiveness, another 90 million doses of two other promising vaccines.
The vaccine involved in this latest deal is being developed by Sanofi in partnership with GSK and it is based on the recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi to produce a flu vaccine, as well as GSK’s established pandemic technology.
UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said, “It is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works, so we can protect the public and save lives.”
Kate Bingham, who chairs the UK government’s Vaccines Task force added that “This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to Covid-19.”
“Whilst this agreement is very good news, we mustn’t be complacent or over-optimistic.” Kate added.
Thomas Triomphe, executive vice-president and global head of Sanofi Pasteur, while commenting on the deal said, “With our partner GSK, we are pleased to co-operate with the UK government as well as several other countries and global organisations as part of our ongoing efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine and make it available as quickly as possible.”
Roger Connor, president of GSK Vaccines, added that “We thank the UK government for confirmation of purchasing intent, which supports the significant investment we are already making as a company to scale up development and production of this vaccine.”
Meanwhile, Sanofi and GSK are scaling up manufacturing to produce up to one billion doses a year overall.