LONDON – Britain is close to a £ 500 million ($ 624 million) supply agreement with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, the Sunday Times reported.
Clinical trials are expected to begin in September and Sanofi said it plans to get approved by the first half of next year, earlier than previously expected.
More than 100 vaccines have been developed and tested worldwide to stop the COVID-19 pandemic and governments are rushing to ensure the supply of vaccines even before their efficacy is proven.
A supply agreement with Sanofi and GSK would be Britain’s second agreement after it announced the purchase of 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sanofi was not immediately available to comment, while a GSK spokesman declined to comment. Both claimed to prioritize quality over speed in developing a vaccine.
“The government’s Vaccine Task Force is actively engaging with a wide range of companies both in the UK and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines,” said a spokesman for the British ministry of affairs, without confirming whether Sanofi or GSK were among them.
The Sunday Times the report says Britain was considering buying an option to buy the vaccine in case it worked in human studies and that it would see the amount paid in stages.
Sanofi is working on two possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant produced by GSK to potentially enhance its effectiveness and has claimed to have the ability to produce up to 1 billion doses per year.
Its timeline for clinical studies is the basis of the likes of Moderna Inc, the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc and an alliance of BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, whose projects have all conquered the titles by switching to studies. humans as early as March.
Sanofi received financial support from the United States and caused a stir at its home base in France after British CEO Paul Hudson reported that Europe was too slow to support work on a vaccine, suggesting to US patients that they could get any vaccine that develops first.
The EU is also seeking an agreement with Sanofi and has called on Britain to join its efforts to buy vaccines for the blockade.
($ 1 = 0.8011 pounds)