GSK to provide adjuvant for Clover’s COVID-19 vaccine, Phase I could start in three months

Clover, a Chengdu, China-based biopharmaceutical company, Monday announced a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline to advance development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Sichuan Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc. has access to samples from infected patients, strong relationships with Chinese regulatory authorities, and access to clinical trial sites, Joshua Liang, Clover’s chief strategy officer, told BioCentury. Vaccine and mAb developers in the U.S. and Europe have had difficulty accessing samples from COVID-19 patients.

GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK) will provide its AS03 pandemic adjuvant system for combination with Clover’s protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate (COVID-19 S-Trimer).

Clover has produced a trimeric spike-protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine candidate and plans to start a Phase I trial of adjuvanted and unadjuvanted versions within three or four months, Liang said. Phase I trials could be completed in three to four months. The timetable could be accelerated, depending on decisions by Chinese regulators, he added.

Clover is in discussions with another multinational pharmaceutical company and could announce a COVID-19 vaccine development collaboration soon, Liang said.

GSK’s vaccine reduces the quantity of antigen required to produce an immune response and could make a vaccine more effective if the virus strain drifts. GSK has also agreed to make the AS03 adjuvant available to vaccine developers that are being funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (see “GSK to Provide Adjuvant to Boost Effectiveness, Stretch Supplies of 2019-nCoV Vaccines”).

Clover has the capacity to manufacture “hundreds of millions of doses” of a COVID-19 vaccine, Liang told BioCentury.

Clover has raised more than $100 million since 2016, including a $43 million series B financing in December 2019.

Further analysis of the coronavirus crisis can be found at https://www.biocentury.com/coronavirus. The COVID-19 content is free to all who visit the site.

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