GSK Inks $3 Billion Agreement with China’s Zhifei for Shingles Vaccine

GSK plc has unveiled entering into a strategic collaboration with Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products, Ltd. (Zhifei), marking a pivotal move to enhance the availability of Shingrix, GSK’s shingles vaccine, in the Chinese market. This exclusive partnership, set to span an initial three-year period and potentially extend further, showcases Zhifei’s impressive record in facilitating access to groundbreaking vaccines in China.

Commencing on January 1, 2024, Zhifei will gain exclusive rights for importing and distributing Shingrix in China. The focal point of their strategy lies in leveraging their extensive service network, encompassing over 30,000 vaccination points throughout the country. Simultaneously, GSK, as the license holder for the product, will play an active role in co-promoting Shingrix. This effort aims to heighten awareness among healthcare professionals working in community health centers and hospitals regarding the importance of shingles vaccination.

Furthermore, this alliance paves the way for prospective co-development and commercialization of Arexvy, GSK’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine designed for adults aged 60 and older in China.

Notably, the collaboration comes on the heels of positive findings from the ZOSTER-076 phase IV trial in August 2023, demonstrating Shingrix’s remarkable 100% vaccine efficacy in preventing shingles among Chinese adults aged 50 and above. This impactful partnership is set to bring an array of opportunities for patients to access Shingrix and explore its potential applications.

Luke Miels, Chief Commercial Officer, GSK said: 

“This partnership is consistent with our focus on products with a high and durable level of differentiation. It materially expands the number of Chinese adults who can benefit from Shingrix and includes the option to extend the collaboration to include our novel RSV vaccine Arexvy.”

Zhifei has agreed to procure specified volumes of Shingrix, valued at £2.5 billion (approx USD 3.07 billion) over the initial three-year duration, as outlined in the agreement. These volumes will be gradually rolled out over the three-year period, aligning with the anticipated steady rise in demand. Should all parties concur, there exists the prospect of extending this promising partnership, underlining its adaptability and commitment to meeting future needs.

In addition to fortifying the availability and accessibility of Shingrix in China, this collaboration serves to expedite GSK’s ambitious goal of doubling global Shingrix sales, with a target exceeding £4 billion by the year 2026. This forward-looking commitment is in perfect synergy with the drive to bolster Shingrix’s position in the market, aligning with growing global demand.

Within the parameters of this strategic partnership, Zhifei has graciously granted GSK the right of first refusal to become their exclusive partner for any co-development and commercialization endeavors related to an RSV vaccine targeting older adults in China. This provision serves as a pivotal stepping stone, setting the stage for potential future partnerships between the two companies, particularly with regard to the prospect of co-developing and launching Arexvy, subject to approval within the Chinese market.

The union of GSK and Zhifei represents not only a significant milestone for enhancing healthcare access in China but also a testament to the shared vision and commitment of both organizations to deliver innovative solutions to patients and healthcare professionals. The synergies created by this partnership are poised to have a far-reaching impact on public health and the pharmaceutical landscape, with promising possibilities on the horizon for patients in need of shingles and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccinations.

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Original Source: Press Release: GSK plc, Issued: London, UK

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