GSK, Vir terminate flu drug pact

Feb. 23, 2024

GSK and Vir Biotechnology have ended their 2021 collaboration on influenza monoclonal antibodies, with Vir retaining all rights to the investigational therapies.

Vir revealed the news in its 2023 financial results. The company now has the greenlight to continue advancing its investigational therapies for influenza independently or with other partners.

Back in April 2020, GSK and Vir entered into a collaboration to research and develop solutions for coronaviruses. As part of the deal, GSK paid $250 million to gain access to Vir’s proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be developed as therapeutic or preventive options.

In 2021, the two expanded that collaboration to include the R&D of new therapies for influenza and other respiratory viruses. In the expanded deal, GSK increased its equity investment by $120 million and made an upfront payment of $225 million.

Among those new candidates was VIR-2482, which was designed to create universal influenza A protection. Per the deal, GSK had an exclusive option to lead post-phase 2 development and commercialization of the candidate. But in July 2023, Vir revealed the drug had failed to meet endpoints in a phase 2 trial.

In its financial update, Vir said it is now actively pursuing external partnership opportunities for its next-generation influenza A and B antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates.