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GlaxoSmithKline Inks New COVID-19 Vaccine Research Pact

By Todd Campbell – Jul 7, 2020 at 12:04PM

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Medicago is using GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine adjuvant in its clinical-stage COVID-19 vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK 1.92%) announced Tuesday that Medicago -- a private company owned by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma (MTZXF) and Philip Morris International (PM 2.04%) -- will use GlaxoSmithKline's adjuvant in a COVID-19 vaccine it expects to enter phase 1 trials this month.

Medicago's recombinant coronavirus "Virus-Like Particles" will be combined with Glaxo's pandemic adjuvant system to boost immune response, potentially allowing for less antigen per dose and thus, more available vaccine doses.

A medical professional holds a COVID-19 test tube and testing swab.

Image source: Getty Images.

In pre-clinical studies, Medicago's antigen produced a "high level of neutralizing antibodies" after a single dose when combined with an adjuvant. A phase 1 trial utilizing GlaxoSmithKline's adjuvant and an adjuvant from another undisclosed company will begin mid-July. The study will evaluate three vaccine dose levels on a one-dose and two-dose schedule.

If successful, the healthcare companies could make a vaccine from this collaboration available in early 2021. Medicago says it can produce up to 100 million doses by the end of 2021 and up to 1 billion doses per year by the end of 2023, when a new manufacturing facility under construction is complete.

Separately, GlaxoSmithKline's adjuvant system is also being deployed in a COVID-19 program underway at Sanofi (SNY 1.16%) Sanofi expects that vaccine will enter phase 1 trials in September.

Todd Campbell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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