Clover and GSK collaborate on coronavirus vaccine candidate

Image of six test tubes containing different coloured liquids to show Clover and GSK collaborate on coronavirus vaccine candidate

Clover Biopharmaceuticals, a China based global clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel and transformative biologic therapies, announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with GSK for its protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate (COVID-19 S-Trimer).

GSK will provide Clover with its pandemic adjuvant system for further evaluation of S-Trimer in preclinical studies. Having one of the largest in-house, commercial-scale cGMP biomanufacturing capabilities in China, Clover could potentially rapidly scale-up and produce large-quantities of a new coronavirus vaccine.

“We are proud to contribute to cutting edge research from scientists at Clover Biopharmaceuticals in China as part of our strategy to make our adjuvant technology available to selected partners who have a promising vaccine candidate against the newly emerged coronavirus.” said Thomas Breuer, Chief Medical Officer of GSK Vaccines.

“The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing to protect more people.”

Earlier this month the UK Government pledged £20 million to develop a new coronavirus vaccine and other new vaccines to combat the world’s deadliest diseases.

GSK is a leader in the development of innovative vaccines using different adjuvant systems. An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone.

“At Clover we look forward to evaluating the combination of GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system and our S-Trimer as a vaccine candidate. Utilizing our proprietary Timer-Tag© technology that has been shown to be recognized by antibodies produced by multiple previously-infected coronavirus patients, S-Trimer is being rapidly developed to support global efforts in combating this current and any future coronavirus outbreaks,” said Joshua Liang, Chief Strategy Officer and Board Director at Clover.

“We are proud to work with GSK, and we are encouraged by the progress of our S-Trimer vaccine program,” said Steven Gong, VP Business Development & Strategy at Clover. “To this end, we recognize that collaborations will be critical to accelerating the development of a successful new vaccine in times of emergency, and we continue to invite any interested regulatory, academic or industry parties to contact us for this noble common cause.”

Upon knowing the genomic DNA sequence of the newly-identified SARS-CoV-2 virus last month, Clover scientists started designing the viral spike (S)-protein construct and completed its gene synthesis. Utilizing its patented Trimer-Tag© technology, Clover has produced a S-Trimer subunit vaccine that resembles the native trimeric viral spike via a rapid mammalian cell-culture based expression system.