GlaxoSmithKline and Germany’s CureVac have reached a €150m (£132m) agreement to develop a next generation of Covid-19 vaccines targeting new emerging variants in the pandemic.

The two companies said they plan to work jointly to develop a vaccine that can address “multiple emerging variants in one vaccine”.

GSK, the UK’s second biggest pharmaceutical company, will also support the manufacture of up to 100m doses of CureVac’s first-generation Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, this year.

The exclusive agreement will lead to GSK and CureVac contributing resources and expertise to research, develop and manufacture a number of vaccine candidates, with the target of introducing the new vaccine next year. The project will develop mRNA vaccines, which inject genetic material into the body that contains the instructions to make the spike protein of the coronavirus. In response to these proteins, the body’s immune system is activated, offering protection against the coronavirus.

The companies said the increase in emerging variants that are more resistant to the current vaccines being administered, such as the variant first identified in South Africa, means the scientists need to “accelerate efforts” to develop new vaccines.

“We believe that next-generation vaccines will be crucial in the continued fight against Covid-19,” said GSK’s chief executive, Emma Walmsley. “This new collaboration builds on our existing relationship with CureVac and means that together we will combine our scientific expertise in mRNA and vaccine development to advance and accelerate the development of new Covid-19 vaccine candidates.”

Image Credit:  EPAHollandse Hoogte/Rex/Shutterstock

Post by Amanda Scott, NA CEO.  Follow her on twitter @tantriclens

Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen.  Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen

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