GSK agrees Covid-19 vaccine tie-up
DRUG maker GlaxoSmithKline has signed a deal to develop and test a vaccine for Covid-19.
The company is joining forces with Canadian biotech business Medicago in a bid to tackle the disease.
Their tie-up will combine Medicago’s plant-based vaccine production system with GSK’s adjuvant technologies, substances that enhance the body’s immune response. Medicago, which is partly owned by cigarette maker Philip Morris International, uses a virus-like particle grown in a plant similar to a tobacco bush.
This particle mimics the structure of the virus responsible for Covid-19, allowing the body’s immune system to recognise it.
Instead of developing its own vaccine, London-listed Glaxo is sharing its adjuvant tech with other companies. Human tests are due to start in mid-July. If successful, the companies will aim to make the vaccine available in the first half of 2021.
Medicago is jointly owned by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and Philip Morris. However, the tobacco company has signalled that it is willing to sell its 33pc stake if another company is better suited to help Medicago through the next phase.