French drugmaker Sanofi and its British peer GSK have started a clinical trial for a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as pharmaceutical companies race to develop treatments against the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanofi and GSK said on Thursday that they had started the "Phase 1/2" trial for their adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine, which they hope to make available across the world.
This vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi's seasonal influenza vaccines with GSK's established pandemic adjuvant technology. Drugmakers and governments around the world are battling to develop treatments against the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 861,000 lives and crippled economies.
The companies said they expected the first results on the vaccine by early December 2020, and if the data turned out to be positive, they would plan to request regulatory approval for the product in the first half of 2021. "The initiation of our clinical study is an important step and brings us closer to a potential vaccine which could help defeat COVID-19," said Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and global head of Sanofi Pasteur.
"Our dedicated teams and partner continue to work around the clock as we aim to deliver the first results in early-December. Positive data will enable a prompt start of the pivotal phase 3 trial by the end of this year," he added. Earlier this month, Sanofi said its rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara had failed as a COVID-19 treatment, but the company was nevertheless being positive over its general progress regarding COVID-19 vaccine candidates.