GlaxoSmithKline teams up with Chinese biotechnology for COVID-19 vaccine


Opening a new front in the war against COVID-19, the disease caused by the rapidly spreading SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) announced that it was contributing to another vaccine research effort.

The UK-based pharmaceutical giant wrote in an update on its work against coronavirus and the disease that it is collaborating with Xiamen Innovax Biotech. The China-based company is trying to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

A coronavirus colony.

Image source: Getty Images.

This candidate, known as COVID-19 XWG-03, is developed by Innovax in collaboration with researchers from Xiamen University. GlaxoSmithKline indicates that its role in the project will be to provide access to an adjuvant to be used in the vaccine. Adjuvants, a specialty of GlaxoSmithKline, are additives used in certain vaccines to stimulate the body’s immune response to the relevant threat.

This is not the first collaboration between the two companies. In 2019, they joined forces to develop a vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause cancer. This work was to fuel GlaxoSmithKline’s efforts to design a successor to its treatment for HPV, Cervarix.

Although GlaxoSmithKline is one of the leading vaccine manufacturers among the world’s pharmaceutical companies, it has chosen to play a largely secondary role in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Innovax is just its most recently announced partner in these efforts – it also provides adjuvant technology to several other research organizations and companies; among these, we find the Chinese company Clover Biopharmaceuticals.

GlaxoSmithKline’s share price fell 1.5% on Friday, more or less in line with broader market indexes that day.


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