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The companies will collaborate on research and development solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology, a clinical-stage immunology company based in San Francisco, CA, announced on April 6, 2020 that they have entered into a $250-million agreement to collaborate on research and development solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will make an equity investment in Vir of $250 million, at $37.73 a share, to access Vir’s technology, a GSK press release said.
The partnership will utilize Vir’s proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and recognize new anti-viral antibodies that could potentially be used as therapeutic or preventative routes to aid in the current COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release. Both companies will also use their CRISPR screening capabilities to identify anti-coronavirus compounds that target cellular host genes.
“Vir’s unique antibody platform has precedented success in identifying and developing antibodies as treatments for multiple pathogens, and it is highly complementary with our R&D approach to focus on the science of immunology,” said Dr. Hal Barron, chief scientific officer and president, R&D, GSK, in the press release. “I am very excited that the talent and passion of our two companies will come together to develop solutions for multiple diseases, including the very promising antibody candidates targeting COVID-19.”
“It is becoming increasingly clear that multiple therapeutic approaches, used in combination or in sequence, will be necessary to stop this coronavirus pandemic,” said George Scangos, PhD, CEO, Vir Biotechnology, in the press release. “It is likely that the current coronavirus outbreak will not be the last. These insights are informing our scientific approach and we are pleased to join forces on the execution of this strategy with GSK, who have a like-minded R&D strategy, a deep expertise in vaccines, and an impressive global reach to bring medicines to people around the world.”