Our contribution to the fight against novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak. Our Company values guide our response as we support global efforts to tackle the virus, seek to maintain the welfare of our employees and ensure we continue to get our medicines, vaccines and healthcare products to patients and consumers.

On 7 January 2020, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified as the cause of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. The virus spread and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. Cases have now been reported in more than 140 countries.

We are contributing our science and expertise where we can have most impact. Our scientists are working with international organisations including the WHO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and governments worldwide.

One of the most significant contributions we are making is supplying our vaccine adjuvant technology to scientists and organisations working on candidate vaccines and we have started a number of collaborations.

We are also actively exploring other ways we can help, utilising our science and expertise.

The welfare of our people is a key priority and we are taking all recommended steps to support and protect them, in line with guidance from public health authorities. This includes remote working, restricting travel and limiting access to certain sites.

We are actively managing our global supply chains to minimise potential disruption. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will put the needs of patients first at all times.

What are coronaviruses??

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can lead to respiratory illness, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). They are transmitted between animals and people and can evolve into strains not previously identified in humans.?

What is an adjuvant?

An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone. The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people.?

How are we helping the global effort to develop a vaccine??

At the beginning of February we announced a collaboration with CEPI to make our established pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to CEPI funded entities to enhance the development of an effective vaccine against COVID-19. CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics.

At that same time, we also announced that through the agreement with CEPI, GSK would provide its adjuvant technology to the University of Queensland, Australia, which has an existing partnership with CEPI to develop a “molecular clamp” vaccine platform, intended to enable targeted and rapid vaccine production against multiple viral pathogens. CEPI has extended this funding to work on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and access to the GSK adjuvant technology will now support this early stage research.

We have since announced a new collaboration with Clover Biopharmaceuticals, a China based global clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel and transformative biologic therapies. We will provide Clover with our pandemic adjuvant system for further evaluation of their coronavirus vaccine candidate. Having one of the largest in-house, commercial-scale cGMP biomanufacturing capabilities in China, Clover could potentially rapidly scale-up and produce large-quantities of a new coronavirus vaccine.

Our adjuvant technology has previously been used successfully in the pandemic flu setting. ?It enables using only small quantities of the vaccine antigen which allows the production of more doses of the vaccine – a crucial advantage in a pandemic.

We are still at the early stages of the collaborations that utilise our adjuvant technology.??Only the ongoing pre-clinical and then clinical research being undertaken by the partner companies and research groups can determine the progress of the vaccine candidates.