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Sanofi and Glaxo Get 'Operation Warp Speed' Covid-19 Funding

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Drug-making giants Sanofi (SNY) - Get Report and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - Get Report are getting some $2.1 billion in 'Operation Warp Speed' money to help develop and mass-produce a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Both companies announced on Friday that the Trump administration will dip into its coronavirus coffers to fund their search for a coronavirus vaccine. The funding will support clinical trials and manufacturing while allowing the U.S. to secure 100 million doses of the shot, if successful.

Sanofi said it plans to begin accelerated early- and middle-stage clinical tests in September, followed by a final-stage study by the end of 2020. If the results are successful, the companies can seek U.S. regulatory approval in the first half of 2021.

Their vaccine candidate is based on technology Sanofi uses to make influenza vaccine and Glaxo’s adjuvants, which enhance the body’s immune response.

Sanofi and Glaxo are following a number of other developers in the coronavirus vaccine race. The University of Oxford and partner AstraZeneca (AZN) - Get Report, Moderna (MRNA) - Get Report. and Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report are among the front-runners in developing a successful vaccine.

Pfizer and drug developer BioNTech (BNTX) - Get Report announced separately on Friday that they will supply 120 million doses of their vaccine to Japan in the first half of 2021.

Pfizer and BioNTech last week reached a $1.95 billion deal to supply their coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government, while Novavax (NVAX) - Get Report, which has yet to commercialize a medicine or vaccine, earlier this month announced a $1.6 billion deal.

The U.S. also has pledged as much as $1.2 billion to AstraZeneca through its Operation Warp Speed effort.

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