Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have signed an agreement with the UK Government to supply up to 60 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine is based on Sanofi’s recombinant protein-based technology, used to produce an influenza vaccine, as well as GSK’s pandemic adjuvant technology.

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Sanofi is responsible for the clinical development and registration of the vaccine. The company expects to begin a Phase I / II clinical trial in September, followed by a Phase III trial by the end of the year.

If positive trial data are obtained, regulatory approval is anticipated by the first half of next year.

Simultaneously, the companies are working to scale up production of the antigen and adjuvant to generate up to one billion doses a year overall.

GSK Vaccines president Roger Connor said: “We believe that this adjuvanted vaccine candidate has the potential to play a significant role in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic, both in the UK and around the world.

“We thank the UK Government for confirmation of purchasing intent, which supports the significant investment we are already making as a company to scale up development and production of this vaccine.”

The companies added that discussions are underway with global organisations, the US and the EU Commission, including France and Italy, for the vaccine supply.

Sanofi and GSK intend to deliver a portion of total available global supply capacity in 2021 / 22 to the Access to Covid‐19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative.

The initiative is a global partnership between governments, health organisations, businesses and philanthropies to speed-up development, manufacturing and equitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines for Covid-19.

For the UK, this deal marks the fourth type of immunisation against Covid-19, with a total of 250 million doses.

Previously, the government entered into agreements for 30 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s, as well as up to 100 million doses of Valneva’s Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

In addition, a deal has also been signed for access to Covid-19 neutralising antibodies from AstraZeneca, and 100 million doses of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.