Glax­o­SmithK­line cau­tious­ly fol­lows Sanofi, ramps up a new project for Zi­ka with the NIH

Un­like Ebo­la, which quick­ly drew in the world’s big vac­cine mak­ers, Zi­ka has been some­thing of an or­phan in the mar­ket. Of all the big play­ers, on­ly Sanofi has been push­ing ahead on a new vac­cine. But now Glax­o­SmithK­line is cau­tious­ly step­ping in­to the field, al­ly­ing it­self with in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the NIH who will ex­plore the use of a plat­form tech­nol­o­gy in de­vel­op­ing a new vac­cine.

The tech plat­form is SAM (self-am­pli­fy­ing mR­NA), and GSK will house the project in its vac­cine R&D cen­ter in Rockville, MD—just a short Uber ride down to the NIH. GSK des­ig­nat­ed the cen­ter as one of its new cen­ters in the wake of its big as­set swap with No­var­tis, which hand­ed over SAM and the rest of its vac­cine busi­ness in ex­change for GSK’s most ad­vanced can­cer ther­a­pies.

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