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    GSK ties up with Philip Morris venture for potential COVID-19 shot

    Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

    GSK, the world’s largest vaccine maker, on Tuesday announced the latest partnership for its vaccine booster technology to develop and test a potential COVID-19 shot with Canadian biopharmaceutical firm Medicago.

    Quebec, Canada-headquartered Medicago is a privately owned company, in which tobacco firm Philip Morris has a 33 per cent stake, and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma holds the remaining stake.

    GSK has shied away from developing its own coronavirus vaccine and instead focused on contributing its adjuvant expertise to at least seven other global institutions or firms such as Sanofi and China’s Clover.

    The British drugmaker said the companies aim to make their vaccine available in the first half of next year and produce about 100 million doses by the end of 2021. Early-stage testing in humans is expected to begin in mid-July.

    British American Tobacco (BAT) has also developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine through its subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), a division of BAT’s US unit Reynolds American.

    BAT has in May said that its vaccine candidate is ready to move to the next stage of testing, Phase 1 human clinical trials, pending the authorization from regulators, including in the UK.

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