- GlaxoSmithKline agreed to buy a stake in Vir Biotechnology for $250m as part of a wider collaboration to development treatments for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The collaboration would involve the use Vir's antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies.

The antibodies could then be used as therapeutic or preventative options to help address the current Covid-19 pandemic and future outbreaks.

GlaxoSmithKline would contribute its expertise in functional genomics, while the companies would also combine their screening and artificial intelligence capabilities to identify anti-coronavirus compounds that target cellular host genes.

They would also research SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus vaccines.

The pair's initial focus would be to accelerate the development of specific antibody candidates identified by Vir that had demonstrated high affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and were highly potent in neutralising SARS-CoV-2 in live virus-cellular assays.

The companies planned to proceed directly into a phase two clinical trial within the next three-to-five months, subject to regulatory review.

GlaxoSmithKline said it had paid $37.73 per Vir share for its $250m investment, a 10% premium to the closing share price on Friday.

At 1:16pm: [LON:GSK] Glaxosmithkline PLC share price was +5p at 1494.4p

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