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Sanofi Fast-Tracking Covid-19 Vaccine to Human Trials

Sanofi begins accelerated trials of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine that could put it on track for wider late-stage trials by year-end.

Drugmaking giant Sanofi  (SNY)  said it has begun a combined phase 1/2 trial of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine amid promising preclinical results that could put it on track to kick off late-stage clinical trials before year-end.

Paris-based Sanofi and partner GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK)  said they launched human studies of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate at 11 sites across the U.S. The phase-compressed trial, one of several being backed by the U.S. government’s “Operation Warp Speed,” combines the early and middle stages of clinical tests into one.

The vaccine candidate relies on technology Sanofi uses to make influenza shots and Glaxo’s adjuvants, which enhance the body’s immune response. Sanofi also has a messenger RNA vaccine in development.

The companies said they were recruiting 440 healthy adults at 11 trial sites to test out the vaccine in a randomized, double blind and placebo-controlled trial. At the same time, both companies are scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant with the target of producing up to 1 billion doses in 2021.

Sanofi’s rapid ramp-up reflects the speed and urgency that drug and pharmaceutical companies globally have put into finding a viable Covid-19 vaccine. Sanofi and Glaxo aim to have results by December, and then kick-start a late-stage study.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday told public health officials around the begin preparing to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as Nov. 1. It also provided planning scenarios to help states prepare.

There are more than 175 Covid-19 vaccines currently in development, according to the World Health Organization, with 33 of those in human trials. A handful have ambitions to secure emergency use authorizations in the fall.

Sanofi's American depositary deceipts trading in New York were up 0.49% at $50.72 on Thursday, while Glaxo's were down 0.2% at $39.02.

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