GSK to provide adjuvant to boost effectiveness, stretch supplies of 2019-nCoV vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline will provide its AS03 adjuvant technology to enhance 2019-nCoV vaccines that are being funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, GSK and CEPI announced Sunday.

AS03 has been used in GSK’s H1N1 and H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccines.

“AS03 has shown the ability to induce cross-immunity [and] cross-protection to allow for broader protection,” GSK spokesperson Evan Berland told BioCentury. “As with the seasonal strains of influenza, pandemic strains are expected to change, or drift, slightly over time. The adjuvant allows preparation of a pandemic vaccine that can protect against these potentially drifted strains.”

Adjuvants also stretch vaccine supplies by reducing the amount of antigen required to produce an immune response.

The use of an adjuvant “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,” Thomas Breuer, CMO of GSK Vaccines, said in a statement.

CEPI is funding four separate 2019-nCoV vaccine development programs: CureVac AG is developing an RNA vaccine; Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) is developing a DNA vaccine in partnership with Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology; Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) is developing an RNA vaccine in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and The University of Queensland in Australia is developing a protein-based vaccine.

CEPI said it will “coordinate engagements between GSK and entities funded by CEPI who are interested in testing their vaccine platform with GSK’s adjuvant technology to develop effective vaccines against 2019-nCoV.”

GSK has formalized an agreement to provide adjuvant to one CEPI partner, the University of Queensland.

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