GSK and Vir Biotechnology announce Joint Procurement Agreement with European Commission for COVID-19 treatment, sotrovimab

Alternative Medicine

GlaxoSmithKlineGlaxoSmithKline plc and Vir Biotechnology, Inc. announced they have signed a Joint Procurement Agreement with the European Commission to supply up to 220,000 doses of sotrovimab, an investigational single dose SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of adults and adolescents (aged 12 years and over and weighing at least 40 kg) with COVID-19 who do not require oxygen supplementation and who are at risk of progressing to severe COVID-19. The Joint Procurement Agreement enables participating European Union (EU) Member States to quickly purchase sotrovimab, following local emergency authorisation or authorisation at the EU level, to treat high-risk patients with COVID-19 who may benefit from early treatment with sotrovimab.

This action follows the positive scientific opinion issued by the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), under Article 5(3) of Regulation 726/2004, which can be considered by the national authorities in EU Member States when taking evidence-based decisions on the early use of the medicine prior to marketing authorisation. Sotrovimab is included in the European Commission’s portfolio of promising candidate therapies as part of its COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy. In addition, the documentation to support the forthcoming marketing authorisation application for sotrovimab is under rolling regulatory review with the EMA. In June, the companies announced confirmatory full results for the Phase 3 COMET-ICE trial, which resulted in a 79% reduction (adjusted relative risk reduction) (p0.001) in hospitalisations for more than 24 hours or death due to any cause by Day 29 compared to placebo, meeting the primary endpoint of the trial.

George Katzourakis, Senior Vice President, Europe, GSK said: “This agreement with the European Commission represents a crucial step forward for treating cases of COVID-19 in participating EU Member States, as it enables access to sotrovimab for high-risk patients who have contracted the virus. As the COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve and we meet new challenges – such as the Delta variant spreading across the globe – there remains an urgent need for treatment options to help those who do get sick to potentially avoid hospitalisation or death.”

George Scangos, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Vir, said: “It remains abundantly clear that additional treatment options are needed to fully address the toll of this pandemic. This agreement recognises that monoclonal antibody treatments for those who become infected are essential, and we are pleased that European healthcare providers and their patients now have access to sotrovimab. Notably, the fact that sotrovimab was designed from the beginning to maintain activity against the evolution of this virus and has demonstrated, in vitro, its ability to maintain activity against the tested circulating variants of concern and interest, including Delta and Lambda, underscore its critical role in the fight against COVID-19.”

Recognising the acute urgency of patient need across the world, the companies are engaging with governments and procurement bodies to make sotrovimab available to support the pandemic response.

GSK and Vir have secured supply agreements with multiple governments around the world and will continue those efforts as the pandemic continues to evolve. In May 2021, sotrovimab was granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild-to moderate COVID-19 in high risk patients. GSK and Vir have announced plans to submit a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the U.S. FDA in the second half of 2021. Sotrovimab has also been authorised for emergency use in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

GSK and Vir are committed to ongoing evaluation of sotrovimab as the COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve at different rates across the globe and new variants of concern and interest emerge. Updated in vitro data, published in bioRxiv, demonstrate that sotrovimab retains activity against currently circulating variants of concern and interest of the SARS-CoV-2 virus including Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Delta (B.1.617.2), Epsilon (B.1.427/B.1.429), Gamma (P.1), Iota (B.1.526), Kappa (B.1.617.1), and Lambda (C.37), as well as new variants from Bristol (B.1.1.7+E484K) and Cameroon (B.1.619), which encodes both N440K and E484K mutations that may lead to reduced activity for other neutralising monoclonal antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. GSK and Vir are continuing to evaluate the ability of sotrovimab to maintain activity against new and emerging variants through in vitro studies. The clinical impact of these in vitro variant data is not yet known.

About the COMET-ICE Study

The multi-centre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase 3 COMET-ICE trial investigated intravenous (IV) infusion of sotrovimab in adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 at high risk of progression to severe disease. In March 2021, an Independent Data Monitoring Committee recommended that the COMET-ICE trial be stopped for enrolment due to evidence of profound efficacy and is continuing to follow trial participants for 24 weeks. Interim data results have been shared with regulatory authorities and formed the basis of the positive scientific opinion reached by the EMA’s CHMP, under Article 5(3) of Regulation 726/2004.

This ongoing trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of a single IV infusion of sotrovimab (500 mg) or placebo in non-hospitalised participants globally. The primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of patients who have progression of COVID-19 as defined by the need for hospitalisation for greater than 24 hours for acute management of any illness or death from any cause.

The final COMET-ICE trial results in the full study population of 1,057 participants demonstrated a 79% reduction (adjusted relative risk reduction) (p0.001) in hospitalisation for more than 24 hours or death due to any cause by Day 29 compared to placebo, meeting the primary endpoint of the trial. The number of patients who were hospitalised for >24 hours for acute management of any illness or death from any cause at Day 29 was six patients in the sotrovimab arm (1%), versus 30 patients in the placebo arm (6%). In the sotrovimab arm, it is possible that half of those patients who were hospitalised were for reasons other than progression of COVID-19 (e.g., small bowel obstruction, lung cancer and diabetic foot ulcer); this was not the case for patients in the placebo arm.

In the safety analysis, 1,037 participants were followed through at least 29 days. The most common adverse events observed in the sotrovimab treatment group in COMET-ICE were rash (1%) and diarrhoea (2%), all of which were Grade 1 (mild) or Grade 2 (moderate). No other treatment-emergent adverse events were reported at a higher rate with sotrovimab compared to placebo.

About the Sotrovimab Clinical Development Programme

In addition to the COMET-ICE trial, the full COMET clinical development programme for sotrovimab includes:

  • COMET-PEAK, a pharmacokinetic trial in outpatients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 investigating intramuscular (IM) administration of sotrovimab, is near completion and initial data are expected in the second half of 2021.
  • COMET-TAIL has been initiated. This is a Phase 3 trial evaluating the role of IM-administered sotrovimab for the early treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk non-hospitalised adult and paediatric patients (12 years of age and older). Data are anticipated in the first half of 2022.

The companies also plan to investigate the use of sotrovimab in uninfected immunocompromised adults to determine whether sotrovimab can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

About Sotrovimab

Sotrovimab is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody. Preclinical data suggest it has the potential to both block viral entry into healthy cells and clear infected cells. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 that is shared with SARS-CoV-1 (the virus that causes SARS), indicating that the epitope is highly conserved, which may make it more difficult for resistance to develop. Sotrovimab, which incorporates Xencor’s Xtend™ technology, also has been designed to achieve high concentration in the lungs to ensure optimal penetration into airway tissues affected by SARS-CoV-2 and to have an extended half-life.

Important Information about Sotrovimab in Europe

For more information on the EMA positive scientific opinion, please review the EU Conditions of Use.

All side effects have been mild or moderate. Healthcare professionals should look out for side effects and take appropriate action.

Sotrovimab in the United States

Healthcare providers in the U.S. should review the Fact Sheets for information on the authorized use of sotrovimab and mandatory requirements of the EUA.

Sotrovimab has been authorized by the U.S. FDA for the emergency use described below. Sotrovimab is not FDA-approved for this use.

Sotrovimab is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the emergency use of sotrovimab under section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.

About the Vir and GSK Collaboration

In April 2020, Vir and GSK entered into a collaboration to research and develop solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The collaboration uses Vir’s proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be used as therapeutic or preventive options to help address the current COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks. The companies will leverage GSK’s expertise in functional genomics and combine their capabilities in CRISPR screening and artificial intelligence to identify anti-coronavirus compounds that target cellular host genes. They will also apply their combined expertise to research SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus vaccines.

GSK Commitment to Tackling COVID-19

GSK’s response to COVID-19 has been one of the broadest in the industry, with three potential treatments in addition to our vaccine candidates in development with partner organisations. GSK is collaborating with several organisations on COVID-19 vaccines by providing access to our adjuvant technology. In addition to our work with Medicago, we recently announced positive Phase 2 data from our collaboration with Sanofi to develop an adjuvanted, protein-based vaccine candidate and started a Phase 3 trial in Q2. An earlier stage collaboration with SK Bioscience is also ongoing. SK Bioscience receives funding from CEPI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop differentiated, affordable COVID-19 vaccines for supply globally through the COVAX facility. The use of an adjuvant can be of particular importance in a pandemic since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and contributing to protecting more people.

GSK is also working with mRNA specialist, CureVac, to jointly develop next generation, multi-valent mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 with the potential to address multiple emerging variants in one vaccine. GSK will also support manufacturing of up to 100m doses of CureVac’s first generation COVID-19 vaccine. GSK is also providing manufacturing support for up to 60m doses of Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.

GSK is also exploring potential therapeutic or treatment options for COVID-19 patients. We are also assessing whether an investigational monoclonal antibody, otilimab, can help severely ill COVID-19 patients aged over 70 who experience an overreaction of their immune system.

Vir’s Commitment to COVID-19

Vir was founded with the mission of addressing the world’s most serious infectious diseases. In 2020, Vir responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging our unique scientific insights and industry leading antibody platform to explore multiple monoclonal antibodies as potential therapeutic or preventive options for COVID-19. Sotrovimab is the first SARS-CoV-2-targeting antibody Vir advanced into the clinic. It was carefully selected for its demonstrated promise in preclinical research, including an anticipated high barrier to resistance and potential ability to both block the virus from entering healthy cells and clear infected cells. Vir is continuing to pursue novel therapeutic and prophylactic solutions to combat SARSCoV-2 and future coronavirus pandemics, both independently and in collaboration with its partners.

About GSK

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company.

About Vir Biotechnology

Vir Biotechnology is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on combining immunologic insights with cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases. Vir has assembled four technology platforms that are designed to stimulate and enhance the immune system by exploiting critical observations of natural immune processes. Its current development pipeline consists of product candidates targeting COVID-19, hepatitis B virus, influenza A and human immunodeficiency virus.

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