British and French pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi are close to reaching a $624 million (500 million pounds) deal with the United Kingdom (UK) government for the supply of 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as many countries move for possible COVID-19 treatments.
Reports suggest that the UK was considering an option to buy the vaccine should the human trials, which are due to commence in September 2020, turn out successful.
The funds would be paid in stages as the vaccine progresses, with the final payment made on delivery.
In order not to be left behind, the UK government has been engaging a wide range of companies both at home and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines. They said that the right announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized.
The British business ministry’s spokeswoman, who confirmed that the ministry is handling Britain’s supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines, said talks were going on with different parties about access to possible vaccines but didn’t confirm if GSK/Sanofi project was one of them.
According to the ministry official, ‘’The Government’s Vaccines Task Force is actively engaging with a wide range of companies both in the UK and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines.”
“Appropriate announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized and signed.”
Sanofi is presently working on 2 possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant made by GSK to potentially boost its efficacy. The timeline for its clinical trials is behind the likes of Moderna Inc, the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc and an alliance of BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, whose projects all made headlines by moving to human trials as early as March.
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed in developing a vaccine.