China's Clover ends COVID-19 vaccine partnership with GSK

BEIJING, Feb 1 (Reuters) - China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals said on Monday it has terminated its partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) to develop a COVID-19 vaccine using the British drug maker’s adjuvant.

Clover has been testing two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, one containing an adjuvant from GSK and the other from Dynavax , and had said that the candidate with the GSK product would move to mid-to late-stage clinical trial in December.

It said on Monday both candidates induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies but it decided to initiate Phase II and III study of the candidate using the Dynavax adjuvant after taking into account “scale-up manufacturing considerations.”

“Clover and GSK also decided to discontinue their partnership to evaluate the S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system,” it said, without elaborating why they decide to terminate the partnership.

“The collaboration between Clover and GSK will not proceed as planned, and both parties will move forward with other collaborations that they believe will be able to maximize their respective and overall impacts against the COVID-19 pandemic,” a representative at Clover said.

The mid-to-late stage trial of its candidate with the Dynavax’s adjuvant will start in the first half of this year, with interim analysis of its efficacy expected around in the middle of 2021, the company said.

“Having fully evaluated all available data, and based on our discussions with Clover and CEPI, we will not progress this collaboration using GSK’s pandemic adjuvant,” a GSK representative said in an emailed response. (Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Tony Monroe; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Louise Heavens)