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GlaxoSmithKline Re-Teams With Chinese Biotech For COVID-19 Vaccine

By Eric Volkman - Apr 5, 2020 at 12:14PM

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It is the latest in a series of collaborations between the big pharmaceutical company and entities researching potential vaccines for the disease.

Opening up yet another front in the war against COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK -0.17%) announced it is contributing to another vaccine research effort.

The UK-based pharmaceutical giant wrote, in an update on its work combating the coronavirus and the disease, that it is collaborating with Xiamen Innovax Biotech. The China-based company is attempting to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

A coronavirus colony.

Image source: Getty Images.

That candidate, known as COVID-19 XWG-03, is being developed by Innovax in conjunction with researchers from Xiamen University. GlaxoSmithKline says its role in the project will be to provide access to an adjuvant for use in the vaccine. Adjuvants, a specialty of GlaxoSmithKline, are additives used in certain vaccines to boost the body's immune response to the relevant threat.

This is not the first collaboration between the two companies. In 2019 they teamed up to develop a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause cancer. This work was to feed into GlaxoSmithKline's efforts to devise a successor to its HPV treatment, Cervarix.

Although GlaxoSmithKline is one of the top vaccine makers among the world's pharmaceutical companies, it has elected to take a largely secondary role in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Innovax is only its most recently announced partner in these efforts -- it is also providing adjuvant technology for several other research organizations and companies; among the latter is China-based Clover Biopharmaceuticals.

On Friday, GlaxoSmithKline's share price dipped by 1.5%, more or less in line with the broader stock market indexes on that day.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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