GSK and Sanofi join forces to work on coronavirus vaccine

Two companies jointly have capacity to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses

Two of the world’s biggest vaccine companies have joined forces in an “unprecedented” collaboration to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, which combined have the largest vaccine manufacturing capability in the world, are working together on a hi-tech vaccine they say could be in human trials within months.

The pairing is significant because, if successful, the two companies have the capacity to manufacture the hundreds of millions of doses that are likely to be required worldwide.

Emma Walmsley, the chief executive of GSK, described the collaboration as “unprecedented”.

She said: “What is not common is you’ve got two of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in the world coming together. Both bring significant manufacturing capacity. We believe we’ll be able to make hundreds of millions of doses by the end of next year.”

Paul Hudson, the chief executive of Sanofi, said: “As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone. That is why Sanofi is continuing to complement its expertise and resources with our peers, such as GSK, with the goal to create and supply sufficient quantities of vaccines that will help stop this virus.”

Sanofi, which is headquartered in France, announced in February that it was entering the race to make a vaccine and had secured support from the US health department.

GSK is already offering access to its technology to smaller teams, such as a vaccine effort at the University of Queensland, but this is the first collaboration that would have the ability to rapidly scale up manufacturing.