Tuesday, April 16, 2024

GlaxoSmithKline Enters Exclusive Agreement with Zhifei to Boost Shingrix Availability in China

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Global pharmaceutical giant GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) has announced a significant partnership with Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products, Ltd. (Zhifei), China’s largest vaccine company by revenue. Under this exclusive agreement, the two companies will co-promote GSK’s shingles vaccine, Shingrix, in China for an initial three-year period, with the possibility of extending the collaboration.

Starting from January 1, 2024, Zhifei will have exclusive rights to import and distribute Shingrix in China, focusing on promoting the vaccine through its extensive network of more than 30,000 vaccination points across the country. GSK, as the product’s license holder, will join forces with Zhifei to raise awareness about the importance of shingles vaccination among healthcare professionals in community health centers and hospitals.

This partnership comes following positive results from the ZOSTER-076 phase IV trial in August 2023, which demonstrated Shingrix’s exceptional efficacy in preventing shingles in Chinese adults aged 50 and over. GSK has reported a 100% vaccine efficacy, solidifying Shingrix as a vital tool in preventing shingles.

Financially, the agreement stipulates that Zhifei will purchase Shingrix volumes worth £2.5 billion over the initial three-year period, with the potential to extend the partnership. This collaboration aligns with GSK’s commitment to doubling global Shingrix sales, targeting more than £4 billion by 2026.

Furthermore, the strategic partnership between GSK and Zhifei extends beyond Shingrix. GSK has been granted the right of first refusal for the co-development and commercialization of a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for older adults in China. This provision paves the way for potential collaboration on Arexvy, GSK’s RSV vaccine, upon approval in China.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a condition caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. Individuals aged 50 and older are at risk of developing shingles, with a weakened immune system further increasing this risk. Shingles present as a painful rash with potential complications like post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a long-lasting nerve pain.

GSK’s Shingrix is a non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine designed to prevent shingles in adults aged 50 and over. It combines an antigen, glycoprotein E, with an adjuvant system, AS01B, to enhance immune responses. Shingrix is not intended to prevent primary varicella infection (chickenpox).

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