GlaxoSmithKline plans to produce 1bn doses of vaccine efficacy boosters, or adjuvants, next year for use in Covid-19 treatment.
The world’s largest vaccine maker said it was in talks with governments to back a manufacturing expansion that would help to scale up production of future vaccines for Covid-19.
It gave no indication of costs, saying only that production would take place at sites in Europe and North America and that it would reinvest any profit into coronavirus research and preparation for future pandemics.
GSK is working on its own Covid-19 vaccine with the French drugmaker Sanofi, one of the many projects to counter the respiratory illness that currently has no treatment and has killed about 350,000 people.
Adjuvants, an area where GSK leads many of its peers, have been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections and allow for lower dosing of the protein in a vaccine, making way for higher-volume production.
“We believe that more than one vaccine will be needed to address this global pandemic and we are working with partners around the world to do so,” said the GSK global vaccines president, Roger Connor.
Experts have predicted a successful vaccine will take more than a year to develop and companies and governments are pouring money into dozens of programmes as their best hope of allowing a durable escape from lockdowns and getting economies expanding again.
The US last week secured almost a third of the first 1bn doses planned for AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine by pledging up to $1.2bn.
GSK said making its adjuvant available to the world’s poorest countries would be a key part of its efforts.