Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have committed 200 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine to a global effort to distribute shots around the world, the drugmakers said Wednesday.
The doses will go to the COVAX Facility, a World Health Organization-backed initiative meant to give rich and poor countries alike equal access to crucial COVID-19 vaccines once they’re ready.
More than 180 countries and economies have signed onto the initiative aiming to have 2 billion vaccine doses available by the end of next year. Paris-based Sanofi and UK-based GlaxoSmithKline say they’ll provide the shots as long as their vaccine wins regulatory approval, which the companies expect to seek in the first half of 2021.
“The commitment we are announcing today for the COVAX Facility can help us together stand a better chance of bringing the pandemic under control,” Thomas Triomphe, the global head of Sanofi’s vaccine business, said in a statement.
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline started an early-stage clinical trial in early September for their vaccine, which got a $2.1 billion funding commitment from the Trump administration in July. The companies expect to have the first results from that study in early December to support the start of a late-stage trial by the end of the year.
The vaccine is not as far along as other candidates being developed by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which have begun important Phase 3 studies in the US aimed at showing whether their shots are safe and effective. Pfizer and Moderna have said they expect to seek emergency approval for their shots in the US by the end of 2020.
Sanofi shares were down 2.3 percent at $46.30 as of 11:22 a.m. Wednesday while GlaxoSmithKline shares were off about 3.5 percent at $34.10.