GSK Abandons COVID-19 Collaboration with Vir

GSK_Don Murray/Getty Images

Courtesy of Don Murray/Getty Images

After nearly three years, the COVID-19 research collaboration between Vir Biotechnology and GSK has largely come to an end, as Vir announced Monday it would be going it alone or with other partners in this space.

The partners will continue their alliance to ensure access to sotrovimab (VIR-7831), an investigational SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing monoclonal antibody. They will also continue to collaborate on new therapies for flu and other respiratory illnesses, according to the press release.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, GSK and Vir struck a partnership in April 2020 to progress antibody candidates VIR-7831 and VIR-7832, along with therapies for other coronaviruses.

Both candidates were identified by Vir’s monoclonal antibody platform.

Sotrovimab attaches to a SARS-CoV-2 epitope shared with SARS-CoV-1, which indicates the epitope is conserved. This antibody was designed to attain a high concentration in the lungs for optimal infiltration into airway tissues impacted by SARS-CoV-2.

GSK and Vir extended the collaboration in 2021 to include research and development for novel therapies for flu and respiratory viruses.

In April 2022, the FDA revoked emergency authorization for sotrovimab, citing low efficacy against the Omicron sub-variant BA.2. The EUA was based on a Phase III trial that showed the therapy reduced the risk of hospitalization or death due to COVID-19 by 85%.

Going forward, Vir will continue to expand coronavirus vaccines and antibody therapies from the collaboration independently, according to its announcement. Per the revised agreement, Vir will pay low-to-mid single digit royalties to GSK for sole rights to previously shared programs.  

The companies will continue to collaborate on sotrovimab and VIR-7832, in addition to a portfolio of other programs for respiratory diseases.

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