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GSK eyes follow-up HPV vaccine

Announces new alliance with Chinese pharma Innovax

GSK

GlaxoSmithKline has entered into a collaborative agreement with Xiamen Innovax Biotech, to develop and commercialise a next generation Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. 

According to Innovax, this will be the first time that a Chinese vaccine company has entered into a partnership with GSK to co-develop and ultimately commercialise a vaccine.

The partnership will aim to deliver a HPV vaccine that uses GSK’s adjuvant systems – this comprises combinations of immune modulators which enhance and direct the immune system to the most adequate response to an infection.

GSK’s existing HPV vaccine, Cervarix, uses this adjuvant technology – however, the British pharma will want any HPV vaccine developed under this new alliance to surpass this first product. GSK pulled Cervarix from the US market after finding it was not competitive against rival Merck & Co’s HPV vaccine.

The new agreement with Innovax could see GSK extend its reach into the Chinese pharmaceutical market, which has seen a reform in its R&D process and regulations since 2015. This has made it a lucrative market, with Western pharma companies increasingly keen to capitlise on its potential.

“HPV-related cancers are still unfortunately a major cause of death for women worldwide. This partnership aims to deliver a vaccine for HPV that leverages GSK’s proprietary adjuvant system, AS04 with antigen technology developed by Innovax,” said Roger Connor, president of GSK global vaccines.

Innovax has already developed a cervical cancer vaccine, Cecolin, which is HPV 16 & 18 bivalent – these two HPV types are known to cause at least 70% of cervical cancers.

It also has a 9-valent HPV vaccine in a phase 2 clinical trial, which will help to protect individuals against diseases caused by nine types of HPV. These additional HPV types cause a further 20% of cervical cancers, as well as additional associated diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women living in less developed regions with an estimated 570,000 new cases globally in 2018.

There are more than 100 types of HPV, of which at least 14 are high-risk and cancer-causing. Under the agreement, Innovax said it and GSK “will continuously support the work of the WHO which aims to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide”.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

9th September 2019

From: Research

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