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Vir Biotechnology and GSK Amend Collaboration Agreement: A New Chapter

Vir Biotechnology, a leading commercial-stage immunology company, recently announced a significant modification to its research collaboration agreement with GSK, a renowned global healthcare company. This strategic move marks a new chapter in their joint efforts to explore potential solutions to COVID-19 and other potential coronavirus outbreaks.

1. The Evolution of GSK and Vir Biotechnology Collaboration

In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, GSK and Vir Biotechnology joined forces to research and develop potential solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Their collaboration leveraged Vir's proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to expedite existing solutions and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could serve as therapeutic or preventive options.

In 2021, the collaboration broadened to encompass the research and development of new therapies for influenza and other respiratory viruses.

2. The Amended Agreement: A New Direction

Vir Biotechnology has decided to carry on its ongoing efforts to explore, develop, and advance next-generation solutions for COVID-19 and other potential coronavirus outbreaks independently or with other partners. However, both companies will continue to collaborate to ensure ongoing access to sotrovimab for patients globally, where authorized, and to develop new therapies for influenza and other respiratory diseases.

3. The Key Takeaways from the Agreement

Under the terms of the new amended agreement, Vir retains the sole rights to continue advancing next-generation solutions emerging from the collaborative coronavirus vaccine and antibody programs, subject to tiered low- to mid-single digit royalties to GSK. The companies will continue to collaborate on sotrovimab and VIR-7832, and other respiratory disease programs.

4. Sotrovimab: The Pioneering Solution

Sotrovimab is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing monoclonal antibody. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 shared with SARS-CoV-1 (the virus that causes SARS), indicating that the epitope is conserved. Sotrovimab, which incorporates Xencor, Inc.’s Xtend™ technology, has also 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.

However, it's worth noting that sotrovimab is currently not authorized in the US.

5. Vir’s Commitment to COVID-19

Since its inception, Vir Biotechnology has been committed to addressing the world’s most serious infectious diseases. In 2020, Vir rapidly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging its 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 due to its demonstrated promise in preclinical research and potential ability to both block the virus from entering healthy

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