GlaxoSmithKline and French drugmaker Sanofi have announced they are seeking regulatory approvals for their joint covid vaccine as the firms scramble to catch up with competitors after a series of delays.
The two pharma firms surprised investors in December by delaying data on their covid jab to this year, after GSK had already rattled investors over its failure to release a vaccine at the same pace as its competitors.
Notorious activist investor Elliott Management, which has been pushing for a break up of GSK, said its “questionable” decision not to lead the covid vaccination effort had “cast doubt on its status as the vaccine leader”, with competitors like AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson storming ahead in the vaccine race.
But bosses at GSK have said the disease’s evolving nature called for a wide array of jabs.
Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines, said: “Our adjuvanted protein-based vaccine candidate uses a well-established approach that has been applied widely to prevent infection with other viruses including pandemic flu.
“We are confident that this vaccine can play an important role as we continue to address this pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic period.”
The firm said that two-doses of the jab “delivered robust levels of neutralizing antibodies” which offered an efficacy of 57.9 per cent.
News of the jab comes as GSK readies to spin off its consumer health arm into a new division in order to focus more closely on drug development.
Bosses said yesterday that the new consumer entity would be called Haleon, with the firm expected to float at a valuation of around £60bn.
The maker of Sensodyne, Panadol and and Nicorette is expected to generate annual revenues of approximately £10 billion, rising by between 4% and 6% per year.
GSK boss Emma Wlamsley will lay out a strategic direction for the new business in a presentation to investors next week.