Clover and GSK announce research collaboration to evaluate coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine candidate with pandemic adjuvant system

GlaxoSmithKlineClover Biopharmaceuticals, a China based global clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel and transformative biologic therapies, announced today that it has entered into a research collaboration with GSK for its protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate (COVID-19 S-Trimer). GSK will provide Clover with its pandemic adjuvant system for further evaluation of S-Trimer in preclinical studies. Having one of the largest in-house, commercial-scale cGMP biomanufacturing capabilities in China, Clover could potentially rapidly scale-up and produce large-quantities of a new coronavirus vaccine.

"We are proud to contribute to cutting edge research from scientists at Clover Biopharmaceuticals in China as part of our strategy to make our adjuvant technology available to selected partners who have a promising vaccine candidate against the newly emerged coronavirus." said Thomas Breuer, Chief Medical Officer of GSK Vaccines. "The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing to protect more people."

GSK is a leader in the development of innovative vaccines using different adjuvant systems. An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone.

"At Clover we look forward to evaluating the combination of GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system and our S-Trimer as a vaccine candidate. Utilizing our proprietary Timer-Tag© technology that has been shown to be recognized by antibodies produced by multiple previously-infected coronavirus patients, S-Trimer is being rapidly developed to support global efforts in combating this current and any future coronavirus outbreaks," said Joshua Liang, Chief Strategy Officer and Board Director at Clover.

"We are proud to work with GSK, and we are encouraged by the progress of our S-Trimer vaccine program," said Steven Gong, VP Business Development & Strategy at Clover. "To this end, we recognize that collaborations will be critical to accelerating the development of a successful new vaccine in times of emergency, and we continue to invite any interested regulatory, academic or industry parties to contact us for this noble common cause."

Upon knowing the genomic DNA sequence of the newly-identified SARS-CoV-2 virus last month, Clover scientists started designing the viral spike (S)-protein construct and completed its gene synthesis. Utilizing its patented Trimer-Tag© technology, Clover has produced a S-Trimer subunit vaccine that resembles the native trimeric viral spike via a rapid mammalian cell-culture based expression system.

About Clover Biopharmaceuticals

China based Clover Biopharmaceuticals is a global, clinical-stage, research-based biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing transformative biologic therapies, with a focus on oncology and autoimmune diseases, as well as viral vaccines. Having raised more than US$ 100 million in total capital since 2016, Clover is utilizing its proprietary Trimer-Tag© technology platform to develop novel biologics targeting trimerization-dependent pathways. Additionally, Clover is leveraging its in-house cGMP biomanufacturing capabilities to develop select biosimilars.

About Trimer-Tag© Technology

Trimer-Tag© is an innovative drug development platform which allows the production of novel, covalently-trimerized fusion proteins. Many major disease targets are trimerization-dependent such as the tumor necrosis factor superfamily (involved in extrinsic apoptosis, immune co-stimulation and inflammation) as well as enveloped RNA virus antigens responsible for entry into host cells. Clover is using Trimer-Tag technology to create trimerized fusion proteins that are able to effectively target these previously undruggable pathways.

About Wuhan Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus identified in late 2019 and belongs to a family of enveloped RNA viruses that include MERS and SARS, both of which caused serious human infections of respiratory system. The virus which causes a disease recently named COVID-19, has never before been found in humans. Since this outbreak was first reported in late-2019, the virus has infected over 75,000 people and has caused over 2,100 reported deaths (as of 21st February 2020). It has been declared a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). Currently there is no vaccine available for COVID-19.

About S-Trimer COVID-19 Vaccine

S-Trimer is a trimeric SARS-CoV-2 spike (S)-protein subunit vaccine candidate. Similar to other enveloped RNA viruses such as HIV, RSV and Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 is also an RNA virus that has a trimeric spike (S) protein on its viral envelope. The trimeric S protein of SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for binding to host cell surface receptor ACE2 and subsequent viral entry, making it the primary target antigen for vaccine development. S-Trimer resembles the native trimeric viral spike protein and is produced via a rapid mammalian cell-culture based expression system.

About GSK

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. GSK is the leading manufacturer of vaccines globally.

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