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GSK and Vir agree deal worth $645m for influenza and respiratory treatments

pharmafile | February 18, 2021 | News story | |  GSK, Vaccine, flu, influenze, vir 

GSK and Vir Biotechnology have extended their collaboration in a deal that could be worth up to $645 million, in order to develop further treatments for influenza and other respiratory viruses.

While the two companies initially signed a deal last year to develop therapies for COVID-19, this new agreement instead gives GSK the exclusive right to work with Vir to build monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to prevent or treat influenza.

Under the new deal, GSK will increase its equity investment by $120 million, with an extra $225 million upfront. Once the Phase II programme for Vir’s influenza treatment VIR-2482 is completed, GSK can choose to co-develop the drug for an extra $300 million.

VIR-2482, which has completed its Phase I trial and is one of three similar drugs Vir are now developing alongside GSK, is an investigative mAb designed as a universal prophylactic for influenza A.

Influenza causes up to 500,000 hospitalisations and 34,000 deaths each year in the United States alone, approximately 75% of which are caused by influenza A.

The WHO estimate that between 290,000 and 650,000 people worldwide lose their lives each year to influenza.

Dr Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President of Research and Development at GSK, said: “We believe, now more than ever, that it is very important to develop new therapies to treat and ideally prevent infectious diseases. 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.”

George Scangos, PhD, CEO of Vir Biotechnology, said: “GSK has been a valuable strategic partner and scientific collaborator in the fight against COVID-19. 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.”

Jack Goddard

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