GSK and Vir Biotechnology Expand Coronavirus Collaboration to Advance New Therapeutics for Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
– Companies applying their combined expertise in immunology and infectious diseases to accelerate the development of promising monoclonal antibody candidates for influenza –
– Functional genomics collaboration expanded to include respiratory viruses, Vir’s unique technology, and access to GSK’s small molecule compounds –
– Additional exploration of up to three other antibodies for pathogens
beyond influenza and coronaviruses –
– GSK is increasing its equity investment by
The expanded collaboration, which builds on the agreement signed in 2020 to research and develop therapies for coronaviruses, provides GSK exclusive rights to collaborate with Vir on the development of potential best-in-class monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for the prevention or treatment of influenza. These include VIR-2482, an intramuscularly administered investigational mAb designed as a universal prophylactic for influenza A that has completed a Phase 1 trial, as well as next-generation antibodies for the prevention or treatment of influenza during a three-year research period. GSK will have the exclusive option to co-develop VIR-2482 after Vir completes and reports Phase 2 trial outcomes, and will share development costs on the development of all other influenza mAbs.
Influenza causes up to 500,000 hospitalizations and 34,000 deaths each year in
As part of the new collaboration agreement, the companies will also engage in two additional research programs. The first is an expansion of their current functional genomics collaboration to develop potential pan-coronavirus therapeutics to now include other respiratory virus targets. Under the second program, the companies will collaborate to develop up to three neutralizing monoclonal antibodies identified using Vir’s antibody technology platform to target non-influenza pathogens during a three-year research period.
Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will make an upfront payment of
GSK and Vir entered into an initial strategic collaboration in
About Vir’s Antibody Platform
Vir has a robust method for capitalizing on unusually successful immune responses naturally occurring in people who are protected from, or have recovered from, infectious diseases. The platform is used to identify rare antibodies from survivors that have the potential to treat and prevent rapidly evolving and/or previously untreatable pathogens via direct pathogen neutralization and immune system stimulation. Vir engineers the fully human antibodies that it discovers to enhance their therapeutic potential. This platform has been used to identify and develop antibodies for pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis B virus, influenza A, Ebola (mAb114, approved for use in the
VIR-2482 is an investigational intramuscularly administered influenza A-neutralizing monoclonal antibody. In vitro, it has been shown to cover all major strains of influenza A that have arisen since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. VIR-2482 is designed as a universal prophylactic for influenza A. It has the potential to overcome the limitations of current flu vaccines and lead to meaningfully higher levels of protection due to its broad strain coverage and because it does not rely on an individual to create their own protective antibody response. VIR-2482 has been half-life engineered so that a single dose has the potential to last the entire flu season.
About VIR-7831 / GSK4182137
VIR-7831 is an investigational dual-action SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody. Preclinical data suggest it has the potential to both block viral entry into healthy cells and clear infected cells. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 that is shared with SARS-CoV-1 (the virus that causes SARS), indicating that the epitope is highly conserved, which may make it more difficult for resistance to develop. VIR-7831 also has been designed to achieve high concentration in the lungs to ensure optimal penetration into airway tissues affected by SARS-CoV-2 and to have an extended half-life.
About VIR-7832 / GSK4182136
VIR-7832 is an investigational dual-action SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody. Preclinical data suggest it has the potential to both block viral entry into healthy cells and an enhanced ability to clear infected cells. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 that is shared with SARS-CoV-1 (the virus that causes SARS), indicating that the epitope is highly conserved, which may make it more difficult for resistance to develop. VIR-7832 also has been designed to achieve high concentration in the lungs to ensure optimal penetration into airway tissues affected by SARS-CoV-2 and to have an extended half-life. Importantly, VIR-7832 has also been engineered to potentially enhance virus-specific T cell function, which could help treat and/or prevent COVID-19 infection.
About the Vir and GSK Collaboration
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com/about-us.
Vir Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “plan,” “potential,” “aim,” “promising” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Vir’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include statements regarding the potential benefits of the collaboration with GSK, the completion of a definitive collaboration agreement, the total potential deal value of the collaboration, the ability to obtain clearance under the HSR Act and to satisfy the other closing conditions, the potential benefits of VIR-2482, and Vir’s ability to address influenza, respiratory diseases, coronaviruses, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, and future outbreaks of any such diseases. Many factors may cause differences between current expectations and actual results, including unexpected safety or efficacy data observed during preclinical or clinical studies, challenges in the treatment of hospitalized patients, difficulties in collaborating with other companies or government agencies, challenges in accessing manufacturing capacity, successful development and/or commercialization of alternative product candidates by our competitors, changes in expected or existing competition, delays in or disruptions to our business or clinical trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical changes or other external factors, and unexpected litigation or other disputes.
GSK Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described under Item 3.D "Risk Factors" in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2019 and as set out in GSK’s “Principal risks and uncertainties” section of the Q4 Results and any impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 2018-2019 flu season data from the
2 Zhou et al. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2012:54:1427-1436.
Vir Biotechnology Contact:
Cara MillerVP, Corporate Communications firstname.lastname@example.org + 1 415 941 6746 GSK Contacts: Media: Simon Steel+44 (0) 20 8047 5502 ( London) Tim Foley+44 (0) 20 8047 5502 ( London) Kristen Neese+1 804 217 8147 ( Philadelphia) Kathleen Quinn+1 202 603 5003 ( Washington DC) Analysts/Investors: Sarah Elton-Farr+44 (0) 20 8047 5194 ( London) Sonya Ghobrial+44 (0) 7392 784784 (Consumer) James Dodwell+44 (0) 20 8047 2406 ( London) Jeff McLaughlin+1 215 751 7002 ( Philadelphia) Frannie DeFranco+1 215 751 4855 ( Philadelphia)
Source: Vir Biotechnology, Inc.