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SK Bioscience’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used with GSK adjuvant

Researcher (SK Bioscience)
Researcher (SK Bioscience)
SK Bioscience is collaborating with GlaxoSmithKline in COVID-19 vaccine development, the company said Thursday.

According to SK Bioscience, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate GBP510 has shown improved T cell activity, or immune response, when used in combination with GSK’s adjuvant AS03. The two companies are running a clinical phase 1/2 trial of GBP510 and AS03, since the local drug authority’s approval of the clinical test design on Jan. 26.

Adjuvants are immune boosters that are added to vaccines to accelerate its activity within the human body. It quickens and prolongs the body’s immune response, hiking up a vaccine’s efficacy. Having witnessed promising outcomes from the combined use of GBP510 with AS03, the two companies have agreed to form a global partnership, SK Bioscience said.

SK Bioscience’s GBP510 is a recombinant protein nanoparticle vaccine. It is developed based on an optimal COVID-19 antigen researched by SK Bioscience and the University of Washington in the US, under the financial backing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SK Bioscience said.

GBP510 is part of the Wave2 next-generation COVID-19 vaccines project, run by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. As per the Wave2 project, once GBP510 completes development, the vaccine will be supplied globally through the COVAX facility operated by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and World Health Organization.

SK Bioscience, a subsidiary of SK Chemical, is planning an initial public offering in 2021.

The company is tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through a two-track approach of contract manufacturing foreign vaccines and developing its own on the side. Other than contract manufacturing AstraZeneca’s and Novavax’s vaccine, and developing its own GBP510, SK Bioscience is also pursuing NBP2001, which is another COVID-19 vaccine candidate currently undergoing a clinical phase 1 trial at the Seoul National University Hospital. 

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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