We are collaborating with US immunology company, Vir Biotechnology, to investigate two monoclonal antibodies that target the COVID-19 virus.
Monoclonal antibodies are created in a lab by cloning an antibody that has been exposed to a specific virus. This enables multiple antibodies that will target the virus to be produced. Monoclonal antibodies work in a similar way to the human immune system and could be an important intervention for people who do not have a strong natural immune response to a virus.
In May 2021, we received Emergency Use Authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration for the first of these monoclonal antibodies. In December 2021, the European Commission approved the same monoclonal antibody for use in the European Union.
The second antibody from our collaboration with Vir is also being investigated as a potential treatment. A phase 1/2 study in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 is underway.
Adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccines
We partnered with several companies working on vaccines by providing them with access to our adjuvant technology.
Adding an adjuvant to a vaccine can improve the immune system’s response to the vaccine. This may allow for more doses to be produced because a smaller amount of vaccine is needed to generate immunity. This is valuable during a pandemic when a vaccine must be produced in large quantities.
One such partnership is with Sanofi. In February 2022, following phase 3 study results, we announced we would seek marketing authorisations.
Our collaboration with Canadian biopharmaceutical company, Medicago, created a unique vaccine using their plant-based technology. Following phase 3 results in December 2021, approval for use was granted by Health Canada in February 2022.
We are also collaborating with South Korean pharmaceutical company, SK bioscience, on a vaccine. Following phase 3 results in April 2022, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety granted approval in June 2022 for its use in South Korea.
mRNA COVID-19 vaccines
In addition to our work on adjuvanted vaccines, we are working with CureVac to develop mRNA vaccines potentially effective against multiple COVID-19 variants. We announced encouraging pre-clinical test results in 2021 with clinical testing to begin in 2022.
This agreement builds on the existing relationship between GSK and CureVac to develop up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. We have also made a £130m equity investment in CureVac.