Coronavirus: UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline to make 1 billion vaccine booster shots

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GlaxoSmithKline Plc plans to produce 1 billion doses of a vaccine adjuvant - a booster that can help any brand of shot - to support immunization against the COVID-19 pandemic next year.

The adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine required per dose, allowing more people to be immunized, and create longer-lasting immunity, Glaxo said in a statement Thursday. The UK drugmaker in April agreed to provide its technology to help develop an experimental vaccine with French pharma giant Sanofi.

Glaxo is among dozens of companies in the hunt for a vaccine, seen as the key to halting the pandemic and reopening economies around the world. The global death toll has climbed past 350,000.

The London-based company said it plans to make the adjuvant at sites in Europe, Canada and the US It has started manufacturing after reviewing its supply network and finding it could increase capacity.

Glaxo doesn’t expect to make a profit from COVID-19 vaccine efforts during the outbreak, investing any gains to support research and long-term pandemic preparedness. The shares were littled changed in London trading early Thursday.

Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley said last month that the goal of the Sanofi pact is to make hundreds of millions of doses annually by the end of next year. In a collaboration with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Glaxo also agreed to share its know-how with other vaccine developers, starting with the University of Queensland in Australia.

“More than one vaccine will be needed to address this global pandemic,” Roger Connor, president of Glaxo’s vaccines operation, said in the statement.

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