Pending final contract, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies GSK and Sanofi announced an agreement with the UK government to supply 60 million doses of the partnership's COVID-19 vaccine, currently under development.

"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" said Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines, "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 announced a commitment to make the vaccine candidate available globally and at an affordable price. The companies are currently targeting 2021-2022 as part of a "Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator." The ACT accelerator is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

“Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before. While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees" said UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma, “In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives.”

The vaccine's development and registration is lead by Sanofi with an expected Phase 1/2 trial start date in September of this year. A final Phase 3 trial is expected at the end of 2020 leading to a potential regulatory approval in the first half of 2021. The company expects a total output of 1 billion doses annually.

Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce said “Through this agreement with GSK and Sanofi, the Vaccine Taskforce can add another type of vaccine to the three different types of vaccine we have already secured.

This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to COVID-19. Whilst this agreement is very good news, we mustn’t be complacent or over optimistic.

The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms.”