GSK and Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products (Zhifei) have signed an exclusive agreement to co-promote the former’s shingles vaccine, Shingrix, in China.

The deal will initially be for three years, with the option to expand the partnership.

Scheduled to begin on 1 January 2024, Zhifei will have exclusive rights to import and distribute Shingrix in the country.

Zhifei will purchase agreed volumes of the vaccine with a value of £2.5bn ($3.05bn) to GSK in the first three years.

The partnership aims to support and boost GSK’s commitment to double Shingrix sales globally to more than £4bn by 2026.

GSK has the right of first refusal from Zhifei to serve as the exclusive partner for any joint development and commercialisation activities of an RSV vaccine for older adults in the country.

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GSK chief commercial officer Luke Miels stated: “This partnership is consistent with our focus on products with a high and durable level of differentiation.

“It materially expands the number of Chinese adults who can benefit from Shingrix and includes the option to extend the collaboration to include our novel RSV vaccine Arexvy.”

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus that is responsible for chickenpox.

In August 2023, GSK revealed positive results from the Phase IV ZOSTER-076 study, which demonstrated that Shingrix attained 100% efficacy in preventing shingles in adults aged 50 and over in China.