As GSK-partnered Covid antibody racks up global sales, Vir axes WuXi deal and grabs back China rights
Early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, Vir Biotechnology enlisted China’s powerhouse CDMO WuXi Biologics for cell line development, process and formulation development as well as initial manufacturing of its antibodies, a deal that CEO George Scangos said would help Vir move more quickly.
Now that one of those antibodies, sotrovimab, is authorized in more than 40 countries and entangled in a partnership with GSK, Vir is axing the WuXi deal. The FDA pulled the EUA for sotrovimab, or Xevudy, last month because of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.
Whereas the original tie-up gave WuXi rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize certain Vir antibodies, including sotrovimab, in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, those rights are now going back to Vir’s hands.
Upon the termination, Vir is paying a lump sum of $7 million “in consideration for WuXi Bio’s development activities” under the collaboration. WuXi is also eligible for tiered royalties on sales of sotrovimab in Greater China. The $7 million pales in comparison to the £958 million ($1.2 billion) that GSK recorded in sotrovimab sales last year.
Vir notes in an SEC filing that its other existing agreements with WuXi remain intact.