GSK and Vir Expand COVID-19 Therapeutics Collaboration to Include Influenza Therapies

The companies have expanded their agreement to include the research and development of new therapies for influenza and other respiratory viruses.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology announced on Feb. 17, 2021 that they are expanding their existing COVID-19 therapies agreement to include the research and development of new therapies for influenza and other respiratory viruses.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will provide an upfront payment of $225 million, along with a further equity investment of $120 million, GSK said in a company press release. Vir will initially fund the development of VIR-2482, its intramuscularly administered investigational monoclonal antibody (mAb) designed as a universal prophylactic for influenza A, through to Phase II trials, after which, GSK will have the option to co-develop the mAb and will pay a fee of $300 million. GSK will also pay up to $200 million if certain predefined regulatory milestones are met.

The companies previously established an agreement in April 2020 to research and develop solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, according to the press release. Currently, the collaboration is focused on the development of VIR-7831 and VIR-7832, two mAbs that have shown the ability to block viral entry into healthy cells and clear infected cells, and to provide a high barrier to resistance.

“We believe, now more than ever, that it is very important to develop new therapies to treat and ideally prevent infectious diseases,” said Dr. Hal Barron, chief scientific officer and president R&D, GSK, in the press release. “I am delighted that we are expanding our collaboration with Vir whose focus on novel antibodies, expertise in functional genomics, unique technology, and talented scientists will further strengthen GSK’s position as a world leader in infectious diseases.”

“GSK has been a valuable strategic partner and scientific collaborator in the fight against COVID-19,” added George Scangos, PhD, CEO, Vir Biotechnology, in the press release. “As part of our functional genomics collaboration directed at COVID-19, we have turned up multiple targets that have the potential to treat influenza and other respiratory viruses, and it makes sense to extend the scope of our collaboration to include these new targets. This expanded collaboration supports the rapid advancement of multiple promising investigational compounds in our pipeline, increasing the likelihood that these potential life-saving treatments will reach patients sooner, and will advance our shared goal of developing single drugs that can address multiple ‘bugs.’”

Source: GSK