(Reuters) – British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline Plc will invest $ 250 million in Vir Biotechnology Inc. and will jointly develop potential therapies for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the companies said on Monday.
Drug manufacturers around the world are rushing to develop a treatment or vaccine for the rapidly spreading coronavirus that has killed over 68,400 people worldwide. There are currently no approved treatments for the disease.
The initial focus will be on accelerating the development of VIR-7831 and VIR-7832 vir testing treatments, the companies said.
The companies plan to start a test in the intermediate phase within the next three to five months.
Experts have said that developing a coronavirus vaccine could take 12 to 18 months.
GSK’s participation is $ 37.73 per Vir share, a 10% premium over Friday’s closing price of the share.
GSK has so far focused on providing adjuvants, potency enhancers that play an important role in many vaccines, as part of its efforts to find potential coronavirus vaccines.
This is Vir’s second California-based partnership with a major drug company to develop a potential coronavirus treatment that signed a letter of intent with Biogen Inc. last month.
(Reporting by Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)