RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – GlaxoSmithKline is partnering with China-based biotech firm Clover Biopharmaceuticals in a search for a vaccine to counter the coronavirus, which is spreading across the world.

The two firms announced their collaboration on Monday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Clover’s protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate is called COVID-19 S-Trimer.

GSK will provide usage of its pandemic adjuvant system to assist Clover, which has created a vaccine candidate.

An adjuvant system is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone, according to GSK.

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“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.”

Breuer noted previouslt that the GSK “adjuvant technology has previously been used successfully in the pandemic flu setting.  It enables using only small quantities of the vaccine antigen which allows the production of more doses of the vaccine – a crucial advantage in a pandemic.”

Clover, which has raised more than $100 million in financing over the past several years, also has a large-scale capability to produce vaccines, the firms noted.

“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, in the announcement.

GSK maintains operations in the Triangle as well as a manufacturing plant in Zebulon.