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Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Marks And Spencer Group Plc LSE:MKS London Ordinary Share GB0031274896 ORD 25P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  3.60 2.33% 158.05 6,769,838 16:35:17
Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price
157.45 157.65 157.80 153.70 156.40
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
General Retailers 10,181.90 67.20 1.30 121.6 3,087
Last Trade Time Trade Type Trade Size Trade Price Currency
17:14:03 O 1,078 154.296 GBX

Marks And Spencer (MKS) Latest News (3)

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Marks And Spencer Investors    Marks And Spencer Takeover Rumours

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Date Time Title Posts
23/4/202100:19Archie Norman bringing home the M&S bacon669
22/4/202110:57Marks & Sparks, chat and charts8,393
20/4/202119:54M&S could be a profit warning soon.15
15/4/202119:54JUST Marks And Spencer (MKS)1,591
13/4/202112:54M&S - - Set To Dive??24

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Trade Time Trade Price Trade Size Trade Value Trade Type
2021-04-22 16:17:37154.301,0781,663.31O
2021-04-22 16:17:14154.301,2982,002.81O
2021-04-22 16:16:48157.0410,11115,877.91O
2021-04-22 16:16:39156.8111,46817,982.63O
2021-04-22 16:16:33157.7838,48960,727.94O
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Marks And Spencer (MKS) Top Chat Posts

DateSubject
22/4/2021
09:20
Marks And Spencer Daily Update: Marks And Spencer Group Plc is listed in the General Retailers sector of the London Stock Exchange with ticker MKS. The last closing price for Marks And Spencer was 154.45p.
Marks And Spencer Group Plc has a 4 week average price of 146.80p and a 12 week average price of 127p.
The 1 year high share price is 163.55p while the 1 year low share price is currently 82.62p.
There are currently 1,953,387,035 shares in issue and the average daily traded volume is 5,664,555 shares. The market capitalisation of Marks And Spencer Group Plc is £3,087,328,208.82.
19/3/2021
12:22
debsdowner: pdosulivan I havent checked Ocado recently but the last time I did the compnay was overly valued accroding to press reports I read and there had been profit taking due to the share price riise the last year which cause a correction. Lets not forget lockdown has increased online but when everyone returns to work things may change again. Also the competition for online is very fierce and too many players in the market.
10/3/2021
14:37
freedom97: Hi phil, any new targets for MKS share price now that the share price has broken through the 150p level?
10/2/2021
09:18
debsdowner: Price breakout on the downside, the brokers downgrade has spooked investors, I warned the share price was looking too heady with so much competitin and poor clothes sector combined with high costs in bricks and mortar. JD Sports warning of BREXIT costs has added to the gloom. It was far too early for the jump in share price.
05/1/2021
14:38
johnwise: Will the Marks and Spencer share price beat the FTSE 250 index in 2021? The last three months have seen the Marks and Spencer share price (LON: MKS) (MKS.L) comprehensively outperform the FTSE 250 index (INDEXFTSE: MCX). In that time, the retailer’s stock price has gained 34%. That’s more than double the 15% posted by the index of UK mid-cap shares. An improving outlook for the Marks and Spencer share price? https://investomania.co.uk/2021/01/will-the-marks-and-spencer-share-price-beat-the-ftse-250-index-in-2021/
16/12/2020
07:45
xxxxxy: Price growth across the UK slowed to almost nothing last month, as second lockdowns across much of the UK dampened demand.Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday showed consumer price inflation dipped to 0.3% in November.The data undershot economists' forecasts of 0.6% and was well down on October's reading of 0.7%.The ONS said inflation was weighed down by falling prices for clothing, food and non-alcoholic beverages."Throughout 2020, we have seen clothing and footwear prices follow a different pattern compared with previous years," the stats body said."We recorded increased discounting during March and April, probably in response to the lockdown, then prices were relatively stable (compared with previous years) to August. Between August and October, prices broadly increased as usual, but this has been followed by a fall between October and November, whereas prices tend to rise between these two months."The ONS said longer Black Friday sales may have contributed to falling clothing and footwear prices.Games, toys and hobby items all saw prices rise as Brits began Christmas shopping. The largest upward contribution to price rises came from recreation and culture - items such as computer games.When housing costs are included, annual inflation was 0.6% last month. Both measures of inflation fell by 0.1% on a monthly basis.How average prices changed between October and November. Photo: ONSConsumer price inflation has crashed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, well undershooting the Bank of England's 2% target. Inflation is a key measure of economic health as its rate can influence the speed at which economies grow.Consumer price inflation measures the growth or decline in price of a typical basket of goods and services - everything from supermarket shopping to TV streaming subscriptions.The ONS said 72 items usually in the basket were unavailable in November due to lockdowns, accounting for 13.9% of the basket by weight."The number has increased from eight in October but is down from 90 in April, the first full month of lockdown," the stats body said... Yahoo Finance
27/11/2020
08:24
debsdowner: MARKS share price went up too hard and was bound to pull back and profit takers could pull the share price well down again. Some made a profit of over 30% or even more than 40%.
10/11/2020
15:18
qantas: sarkasm10 Nov '20 - 08:18 - 1117 of 1117 0 1 0 Investomania Is the Marks and Spencer share price undervalued? Could the Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS) (MKS.L) share price be worth more than its current valuation? November 10, 2020 Robert Stephens, The Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS) (MKS.L) share price has experienced a tough time over the course of the past few years. In my view, it has been left behind by many of its retail peers in terms of its lack of extensive online exposure. This may have contributed to a fall in its stock price from 490p five years ago to around 110p today. [x] The company’s latest investor update showed an insight into why its stock price has underperformed many of its peers in the past few years. It made a net loss and is still in the process, to my mind, of reorganising its business to adapt to changing consumer tastes. For instance, it is rejuvenating its clothing offering, while at the same time seeking to adapt to a growing trend towards shopping online. The Marks and Spencer tie up with Ocado has a lot of long-term potential in my opinion. The joint venture has a 16% market share of the online UK grocery retail industry. In my view, this provides the business with exposure to what could prove to be a fast-growing part of the wider retail sector. Sure, the return of normality after Covid-19 is likely to mean that some shoppers will return to buying their groceries in store. But, in my view, many consumers will now have seen first-hand the benefits of having their groceries and other clothing and homeware items delivered. Therefore, I believe that the online retail sector will continue to grow at an above average pace in the long run. For this reason, I think that the Marks and Spencer share price could gain ground over the long run. Its increasing online focus may help it to follow other retailers that are in the process of successfully transitioning from a bricks-and-mortar model to a multi-channel offering that maximises a store footprint alongside an online operation. I was also encouraged to see that the company is seeking to become more efficient and is aiming to improve its supply chain so that it can respond faster to changing consumer tastes. I think its slow pace of change may have contributed to it falling out of favour with an increasingly demanding UK consumer. At 110p, the Marks and Spencer share price has fallen 78% in five years. In my opinion, the company’s shares may include a fairly substantial margin of safety that could mean they offer capital return potential over the long run. Between now and then, I’m sure there will be challenges ahead for the business. However, I feel that an increasingly online focus, efficiency gains and a large amount of goodwill among shoppers could contribute to the stock outperforming the wider index in the long run. Disclosure: the author has no position in any stocks mentioned.
10/11/2020
08:18
sarkasm: Investomania Is the Marks and Spencer share price undervalued? Could the Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS) (MKS.L) share price be worth more than its current valuation? November 10, 2020 Robert Stephens, The Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS) (MKS.L) share price has experienced a tough time over the course of the past few years. In my view, it has been left behind by many of its retail peers in terms of its lack of extensive online exposure. This may have contributed to a fall in its stock price from 490p five years ago to around 110p today. [x] The company’s latest investor update showed an insight into why its stock price has underperformed many of its peers in the past few years. It made a net loss and is still in the process, to my mind, of reorganising its business to adapt to changing consumer tastes. For instance, it is rejuvenating its clothing offering, while at the same time seeking to adapt to a growing trend towards shopping online. The Marks and Spencer tie up with Ocado has a lot of long-term potential in my opinion. The joint venture has a 16% market share of the online UK grocery retail industry. In my view, this provides the business with exposure to what could prove to be a fast-growing part of the wider retail sector. Sure, the return of normality after Covid-19 is likely to mean that some shoppers will return to buying their groceries in store. But, in my view, many consumers will now have seen first-hand the benefits of having their groceries and other clothing and homeware items delivered. Therefore, I believe that the online retail sector will continue to grow at an above average pace in the long run. For this reason, I think that the Marks and Spencer share price could gain ground over the long run. Its increasing online focus may help it to follow other retailers that are in the process of successfully transitioning from a bricks-and-mortar model to a multi-channel offering that maximises a store footprint alongside an online operation. I was also encouraged to see that the company is seeking to become more efficient and is aiming to improve its supply chain so that it can respond faster to changing consumer tastes. I think its slow pace of change may have contributed to it falling out of favour with an increasingly demanding UK consumer. At 110p, the Marks and Spencer share price has fallen 78% in five years. In my opinion, the company’s shares may include a fairly substantial margin of safety that could mean they offer capital return potential over the long run. Between now and then, I’m sure there will be challenges ahead for the business. However, I feel that an increasingly online focus, efficiency gains and a large amount of goodwill among shoppers could contribute to the stock outperforming the wider index in the long run. Disclosure: the author has no position in any stocks mentioned.
03/11/2020
11:05
paulof2: In my eyes here there is a lot already baked in to the price. As is the case for the market in general - look at ABF yesterday majority of business made up of primark stores with no online component. Lockdown for month and 350m lost sales and yet the share price remained flat as another lockdown already factored in. I’m sure it is the same here which is why the share price didn’t move on the news. An outlook which states lockdown is bad will have no impact on the price in my eyes because it’s not new information. We know that already and the price has held up well. I’m interested to know how they actually have been performing for the past few months. They may still be operating at a loss but I believe they have been trading a lot better than expectations which I think will demonstrate after this next lockdown there is green shoots appearing. A big expectation beat for the quarter would not surprise me at all and I think will offset the impact of another lockdown that we already know about. I’m not saying they will be making a big profit, but quite frankly they don’t need to for the share price to rise. An update that is not horrendous will do it, even if it still isn’t great.
26/10/2020
12:10
neilhumphreys: SBS IN Enter News, Quotes, Companies or Videos CORONAVIRUS Resources LATEST UPDATES THE VACCINE RACE CASE COUNT THE COVID STORM SERIES COOKIE NOTICE We use cookies for analytics, advertising and to improve our site. You agree to our use of cookies by closing this message box or continuing to use our site. To find out more, including how to change your settings, see our Cookie Notice DANIEL HERTZBERG HEALTH To Find a Coronavirus Vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline Is Bonding With Its Biggest Competitors The hunt for a solution to Covid-19 is producing an unlikely team of rivals in the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals By Joseph Walker Oct. 24, 2020 12:00 am ET SHARE TEXT 85 Listen to this article12 minutes 00:00 1x The Covid-19 pandemic is turning some fierce drug-industry foes into the best of frenemies. The pharmaceutical giant standing at the center of this team of rivals is GlaxoSmithKline GSK 0.57% PLC, the world’s largest vaccine maker by sales. The British company is jointly developing a Covid-19 antibody drug with a San Francisco upstart, offering rivals a proprietary ingredient that is designed to boost a vaccine’s power and planning to share research study results. “We felt this very unusual situation required something that GSK hadn’t done before, and something we hadn’t seen in the industry before either,” says Roger Connor, president of Glaxo’s vaccines business. What makes Glaxo’s collaboration so unusual is that competition typically defines the relationship among drugmakers. Company researchers race to be first to bring a new kind of therapy to market or work on treatments that can outdo older medicines, while marketers roll out campaigns designed to boost sales at the expense of rivals. WSJ NEWSLETTER Notes on the News The news of the week in context, with Tyler Blint-Welsh. Notes on the News I would also like to receive updates and special offers from Dow Jones and affiliates. I can unsubscribe at any time.I agree to the Privacy Policy and Cookie Notice. SIGN UP In the age of Covid-19, old adversaries are uniting around a common enemy: the new coronavirus. Their nascent partnership is now visible in everything from trials to research to manufacturing. Glaxo and eight other pharmaceutical firms even took the rare step of issuing a joint pledge last month to seek regulatory approvals for their vaccines only after proving their safety and effectiveness in large, final-stage clinical trials. How far along each of the vaccines are Testing stages typically move from 'preclinical,' before the vaccine is deemed appropriate to test in people, to the three phases of human clinical trials. So far, 44 candidates have made it to clinical trials. Preclinical Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Type of vaccine Viral vector Genetic code Weakened virus Proteins Ten of these have advanced into phase 3, which tests whether the dose that would be given to the public works safely. Note: Data as of Oct. 19 Source: World Health Organization The most common area of cooperation thus far is manufacturing. Some longtime rivals are striking deals to stretch their capacity to meet anticipated demand. Roche Holding AG is helping manufacture an antiviral drug in development by rival Regeneron. Amgen Inc. will help make Eli Lilly & Co.’s antiviral drugs if the treatments are authorized by regulators. Pfizer has dedicated manufacturing capacity to turning out doses of remdesivir, an antiviral made by rival Gilead Sciences Inc. The camaraderie also extends to the traditionally cutthroat realm of research. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. scientists contributed to research on a vaccine in development by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc., and were co-authors on a paper this summer detailing the results. In another rare move, Merck & Co.’s research and development chief called his Glaxo counterpartment in April to pass along a tip that one of Glaxo’s molecules showed promise in Merck’s Covid-19 lab tests. Glaxo’s most prominent contribution to this new era of collaboration is its decision to share a proprietary vaccine component known as an adjuvant—an ingredient that helps boost a vaccine’s protective power by rousing the body’s immune response. Glaxo now has agreements to supply that ingredient to four vaccine developers, including French drugmaker Sanofi SA, and stands ready to produce one billion doses of its adjuvant next year. It normally produces tens of millions annually. Glaxo had a potentially critical role to play in the response to Covid-19, as one of the world’s largest vaccine sellers. Its most prominent contribution thus far is a proprietary ingredient that helps boost a vaccine’s protective power. That ingredient, known as an adjuvant, is being prepared for safety and testing at a Glaxo site in Wavre, Belgium. PHOTO: GLAXOSMITHKLINE Some analysts say the company could enjoy benefits from selling its adjuvant for Covid-19 shots without impairing its lucrative vaccine business. “There is political capital to be gained from what they’re doing, and there may be some financial returns to be had as well,” says Andrew Baum, a Citigroup Inc. analyst who follows health care. Glaxo says it doesn’t expect to profit from its Covid-19 vaccine collaborations during the pandemic, and it will invest any short-term profits in coronavirus research and pandemic preparedness. “The adjuvant can be equally important—maybe crucial—to the vaccine being effective,” says Hal Barron, Glaxo’s chief scientific officer and president of R&D. “We thought that’s where our unique opportunity to make a difference could be. The Team of Rivals The alliance among drugmakers took hold in mid March as Glaxo closed labs amid a sharp uptick in Covid-19 infections around the world. Suddenly, Dr. Barron had to figure out how to run a global R&D organization under lockdown. He and his team debated which workers should be deemed essential and continue to work on-site, and which clinical trials should be paused and which ones to continue. It was up to Hal Barron to chart a path forward for Glaxo's research and development operations in the early days of the coronavirus shutdowns. He called a friend who heads drug research at Johnson & Johnson, looking for advice. ‘I’ve never been in a situation like this before. I wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was.’ PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL “I’ve never been in a situation like this,” he says. “I wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was.” Dr. Barron called Mathai Mammen, a friend who heads drug research and development at Johnson & Johnson. They compared notes on how to decide which drug studies to pause and which scientists were essential enough to continue coming in to the office. Toward the end of the call, Dr. Mammen invited Dr. Barron to join a larger group of R&D chiefs to share information about the virus and approaches to drug development, Dr. Barron says. Glaxo had a potentially critical role to play in the response to Covid-19, as one of the world’s largest vaccine sellers. Sales of its shots totaled about $9.4 billion last year, the most of any of the top four vaccine-makers globally. The company also had a history of rallying its employees to respond to pandemics. In the years leading up to the 2009 swine flu pandemic, it spent $3.2 billion on R&D, acquisitions and manufacturing in preparation for a flu pandemic. On Sunday, March 8, many of the biggest drugmakers convened for a group call. Aside from Drs. Barron and Mammen, participants included the heads of research from AstraZeneca PLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Novartis AG , recalls Andrew Plump, president of R&D at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. , who was also on the call. Dr. Barron, Glaxo's chief scientific officer and R&D president, joined a group of other industry R&D chiefs for a March 8 call to share information about the new coronavirus and approaches to drug development. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL “Things were happening so, so quickly, with organizations closing down and quarantining, and beginning work-from-home policies,” recalls Dr. Plump. “We were all scrambling. And there was also an immense amount of interest in all of us stepping up and trying to provide solutions.” By the end of that call, the research bosses resolved to keep the virtual meetings going and to open up the group to other companies and, occasionally, government officials such as Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and officials from Operation Warp Speed, a $10 billion U.S. government initiative to speed the development of drugs and vaccines for Covid-19. For months, they met regularly using videoconferencing software. Concerns about running afoul of antitrust regulations were alleviated when federal regulators made it clear that research cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 was permissible. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission issued a joint statement on March 24 stating “there are many ways firms, including competitors, can engage in procompetitive collaboration that does not violate the antitrust laws.” SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS Should drug companies collaborate more often on developing new drugs? Why or why not? Join the conversation below. With that statement, “we felt that we had enough cover to do what we needed to do,” says Dr. Plump. The group established a mandate to tackle short-term problems, such as developing reliable laboratory tests to screen the thousands of drug molecules the companies had stored in their libraries against the coronavirus. They also agreed to dramatically increase the speed at which they shared clinical trial data with one another, posting the anonymized data within one week of receiving results from their Covid-19 studies. Outside researchers are allowed to scrutinize the data to learn more about the virus. The Big Picture Glaxo began reaching partnerships on its own, too. One developed from a call Dr. Barron received in mid March from his friend George Scangos, chief executive of a small San Francisco drug-developer with a focus on infectious diseases. Dr. Scangos asked whether Glaxo would be interested in collaborating with his company, Vir Biotechnology Inc., on a Covid-19 monoclonal antibody drug that is engineered to mimic the natural antibodies the immune system makes to fight the virus. A Vir Biotechnology scientist, right, examines the Covid-19 cells under a fluorescent microscope. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A plate of live infected Covid-19 cells, left. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A Vir Biotechnology scientist, right, examines the Covid-19 cells under a fluorescent microscope. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A plate of live infected Covid-19 cells, left. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 1 2 “If we’re going to do this, we need to go fast, because every day matters,” Dr. Scangos recalls saying. Usually, such deals might take several months to a year to hammer out. Dr. Scangos and Dr. Barron set a goal of signing an agreement within three weeks. Some of the calls involved saying, “OK, if that’s important to George—done,” recalls Dr. Barron. “And he would say, ‘OK, if that’s important to you, done. Let’s move this thing along. Can’t lose the big picture.’̶1; The companies announced a deal on April 6, within 18 days of starting negotiations. Under the terms, Glaxo would purchase a $250 million stake in Vir at $37.73 a share, a 41% premium to the company’s average share price over the previous three months. Clinical trials are under way and the companies expect potential authorization for the drug in the first half of 2021. Glaxo is working with Vir Biotechnology Inc. on a Covid-19 drug designed to mimic natural antibodies the immune system makes to fight the virus. Here Vir scientists work on the project inside Vir’s labs in San Francisco. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL One Team Glaxo was even more aggressive in its pursuit of vaccine makers that wanted access to its adjuvant, the ingredient that boosts the immune response to a vaccine. One was Sanofi, which said in February it was developing a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Mr. Connor called David Loew, the head of Sanofi’s vaccine unit, to see if the French drugmaker would be interested in pairing its vaccine with Glaxo’s adjuvant. “This is an unusual call to have, but this is an unusual circumstance,” Mr. Connor recalls telling Mr. Loew during the initial call, in March. Executives say the company settled on its adjuvant strategy as a way to contribute to the Covid-19 response without losing focus on its pre-pandemic mission of reinvigorating the company’s product pipeline or disrupting its existing vaccine manufacturing supply chain. The company’s senior management had been overhauled a few years earlier amid shareholder disillusionment over the company’s mixed record in launching new blockbuster drugs. Its adjuvant was already proven to work with other vaccines, reducing its risk, and would be less of a manufacturing logistical challenge. During pandemics, adjuvants are especially valuable because they can increase the potency of vaccines, allowing companies to produce more doses from each batch it manufactures. Glaxo’s adjuvant, called AS03, is a combination of vitamin E and liver oil taken from sharks. The company used it to enhance the effectiveness of its vaccine for the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. To find partners for its adjuvant, Glaxo launched an internal project led by a team of Glaxo drug hunters who looked for anyone working on a key vaccine component—a protein known as an antigen—that would cause a person’s immune system to build up defenses against the new coronavirus. The hope was that people who got the antigen through vaccination would develop antibodies and perhaps other defenses that could protect against Covid-19. Glaxo’s drug hunters mapped every antigen in the works for Covid-19 using squares on a PowerPoint slide. Every square contained the name of a potential partner, details about the vaccine and a contact person who had spoken with Glaxo. The slide resembled a digital quilt, with some 100 squares. Some in the quilt approached Glaxo seeking help. Glaxo reached out to others. The campaign was “quite unusual for us,” says Mr. Connor. “Going out and offering it to the world was something quite, quite different.” On that first call with Sanofi, Mr. Connor said he remembers telling Mr. Loew: “‘There is an opportunity here for us to do something together, which means that we could ultimately go faster for the world and make a difference to the common enemy, which is the virus itself.’”; Within 36 hours, they agreed to create a joint task force that would start exchanging information and planning how to make the partnership work while the companies worked out a formal agreement. “We knew that the world was waiting,” Mr. Connor says. Initial meetings, held by videoconference among employees across multiple time zones, were “slightly awkward” as the rivals turned teammates felt each other out, said Thomas Triomphe, Sanofi’s executive vice president for vaccines. The companies hope to have results from early-stage studies in late November or early December, Mr. Triomphe said. They aim to start a 30,000-person study by the end of the year and to have the vaccine approved in the first half of 2021, he says. “When you’re facing a public-health crisis there is no team with a blue T-shirt and a team with an orange T-shirt. Very quickly, there was only one team,” Mr. Triomphe said. Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8 Appeared in the October 24, 2020, print edition as 'The Power of Good Chemistry.'IN Enter News, Quotes, Companies or Videos CORONAVIRUS Resources LATEST UPDATES THE VACCINE RACE CASE COUNT THE COVID STORM SERIES COOKIE NOTICE We use cookies for analytics, advertising and to improve our site. You agree to our use of cookies by closing this message box or continuing to use our site. To find out more, including how to change your settings, see our Cookie Notice DANIEL HERTZBERG HEALTH To Find a Coronavirus Vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline Is Bonding With Its Biggest Competitors The hunt for a solution to Covid-19 is producing an unlikely team of rivals in the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals By Joseph Walker Oct. 24, 2020 12:00 am ET SHARE TEXT 85 Listen to this article12 minutes 00:00 1x The Covid-19 pandemic is turning some fierce drug-industry foes into the best of frenemies. The pharmaceutical giant standing at the center of this team of rivals is GlaxoSmithKline GSK 0.57% PLC, the world’s largest vaccine maker by sales. The British company is jointly developing a Covid-19 antibody drug with a San Francisco upstart, offering rivals a proprietary ingredient that is designed to boost a vaccine’s power and planning to share research study results. “We felt this very unusual situation required something that GSK hadn’t done before, and something we hadn’t seen in the industry before either,” says Roger Connor, president of Glaxo’s vaccines business. What makes Glaxo’s collaboration so unusual is that competition typically defines the relationship among drugmakers. Company researchers race to be first to bring a new kind of therapy to market or work on treatments that can outdo older medicines, while marketers roll out campaigns designed to boost sales at the expense of rivals. WSJ NEWSLETTER Notes on the News The news of the week in context, with Tyler Blint-Welsh. Notes on the News I would also like to receive updates and special offers from Dow Jones and affiliates. I can unsubscribe at any time.I agree to the Privacy Policy and Cookie Notice. SIGN UP In the age of Covid-19, old adversaries are uniting around a common enemy: the new coronavirus. Their nascent partnership is now visible in everything from trials to research to manufacturing. Glaxo and eight other pharmaceutical firms even took the rare step of issuing a joint pledge last month to seek regulatory approvals for their vaccines only after proving their safety and effectiveness in large, final-stage clinical trials. How far along each of the vaccines are Testing stages typically move from 'preclinical,' before the vaccine is deemed appropriate to test in people, to the three phases of human clinical trials. So far, 44 candidates have made it to clinical trials. Preclinical Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Type of vaccine Viral vector Genetic code Weakened virus Proteins Ten of these have advanced into phase 3, which tests whether the dose that would be given to the public works safely. Note: Data as of Oct. 19 Source: World Health Organization The most common area of cooperation thus far is manufacturing. Some longtime rivals are striking deals to stretch their capacity to meet anticipated demand. Roche Holding AG is helping manufacture an antiviral drug in development by rival Regeneron. Amgen Inc. will help make Eli Lilly & Co.’s antiviral drugs if the treatments are authorized by regulators. Pfizer has dedicated manufacturing capacity to turning out doses of remdesivir, an antiviral made by rival Gilead Sciences Inc. The camaraderie also extends to the traditionally cutthroat realm of research. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. scientists contributed to research on a vaccine in development by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc., and were co-authors on a paper this summer detailing the results. In another rare move, Merck & Co.’s research and development chief called his Glaxo counterpartment in April to pass along a tip that one of Glaxo’s molecules showed promise in Merck’s Covid-19 lab tests. Glaxo’s most prominent contribution to this new era of collaboration is its decision to share a proprietary vaccine component known as an adjuvant—an ingredient that helps boost a vaccine’s protective power by rousing the body’s immune response. Glaxo now has agreements to supply that ingredient to four vaccine developers, including French drugmaker Sanofi SA, and stands ready to produce one billion doses of its adjuvant next year. It normally produces tens of millions annually. Glaxo had a potentially critical role to play in the response to Covid-19, as one of the world’s largest vaccine sellers. Its most prominent contribution thus far is a proprietary ingredient that helps boost a vaccine’s protective power. That ingredient, known as an adjuvant, is being prepared for safety and testing at a Glaxo site in Wavre, Belgium. PHOTO: GLAXOSMITHKLINE Some analysts say the company could enjoy benefits from selling its adjuvant for Covid-19 shots without impairing its lucrative vaccine business. “There is political capital to be gained from what they’re doing, and there may be some financial returns to be had as well,” says Andrew Baum, a Citigroup Inc. analyst who follows health care. Glaxo says it doesn’t expect to profit from its Covid-19 vaccine collaborations during the pandemic, and it will invest any short-term profits in coronavirus research and pandemic preparedness. “The adjuvant can be equally important—maybe crucial—to the vaccine being effective,” says Hal Barron, Glaxo’s chief scientific officer and president of R&D. “We thought that’s where our unique opportunity to make a difference could be. The Team of Rivals The alliance among drugmakers took hold in mid March as Glaxo closed labs amid a sharp uptick in Covid-19 infections around the world. Suddenly, Dr. Barron had to figure out how to run a global R&D organization under lockdown. He and his team debated which workers should be deemed essential and continue to work on-site, and which clinical trials should be paused and which ones to continue. It was up to Hal Barron to chart a path forward for Glaxo's research and development operations in the early days of the coronavirus shutdowns. He called a friend who heads drug research at Johnson & Johnson, looking for advice. ‘I’ve never been in a situation like this before. I wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was.’ PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL “I’ve never been in a situation like this,” he says. “I wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was.” Dr. Barron called Mathai Mammen, a friend who heads drug research and development at Johnson & Johnson. They compared notes on how to decide which drug studies to pause and which scientists were essential enough to continue coming in to the office. Toward the end of the call, Dr. Mammen invited Dr. Barron to join a larger group of R&D chiefs to share information about the virus and approaches to drug development, Dr. Barron says. Glaxo had a potentially critical role to play in the response to Covid-19, as one of the world’s largest vaccine sellers. Sales of its shots totaled about $9.4 billion last year, the most of any of the top four vaccine-makers globally. The company also had a history of rallying its employees to respond to pandemics. In the years leading up to the 2009 swine flu pandemic, it spent $3.2 billion on R&D, acquisitions and manufacturing in preparation for a flu pandemic. On Sunday, March 8, many of the biggest drugmakers convened for a group call. Aside from Drs. Barron and Mammen, participants included the heads of research from AstraZeneca PLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Novartis AG , recalls Andrew Plump, president of R&D at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. , who was also on the call. Dr. Barron, Glaxo's chief scientific officer and R&D president, joined a group of other industry R&D chiefs for a March 8 call to share information about the new coronavirus and approaches to drug development. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL “Things were happening so, so quickly, with organizations closing down and quarantining, and beginning work-from-home policies,” recalls Dr. Plump. “We were all scrambling. And there was also an immense amount of interest in all of us stepping up and trying to provide solutions.” By the end of that call, the research bosses resolved to keep the virtual meetings going and to open up the group to other companies and, occasionally, government officials such as Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and officials from Operation Warp Speed, a $10 billion U.S. government initiative to speed the development of drugs and vaccines for Covid-19. For months, they met regularly using videoconferencing software. Concerns about running afoul of antitrust regulations were alleviated when federal regulators made it clear that research cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 was permissible. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission issued a joint statement on March 24 stating “there are many ways firms, including competitors, can engage in procompetitive collaboration that does not violate the antitrust laws.” SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS Should drug companies collaborate more often on developing new drugs? Why or why not? Join the conversation below. With that statement, “we felt that we had enough cover to do what we needed to do,” says Dr. Plump. The group established a mandate to tackle short-term problems, such as developing reliable laboratory tests to screen the thousands of drug molecules the companies had stored in their libraries against the coronavirus. They also agreed to dramatically increase the speed at which they shared clinical trial data with one another, posting the anonymized data within one week of receiving results from their Covid-19 studies. Outside researchers are allowed to scrutinize the data to learn more about the virus. The Big Picture Glaxo began reaching partnerships on its own, too. One developed from a call Dr. Barron received in mid March from his friend George Scangos, chief executive of a small San Francisco drug-developer with a focus on infectious diseases. Dr. Scangos asked whether Glaxo would be interested in collaborating with his company, Vir Biotechnology Inc., on a Covid-19 monoclonal antibody drug that is engineered to mimic the natural antibodies the immune system makes to fight the virus. A Vir Biotechnology scientist, right, examines the Covid-19 cells under a fluorescent microscope. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A plate of live infected Covid-19 cells, left. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A Vir Biotechnology scientist, right, examines the Covid-19 cells under a fluorescent microscope. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A plate of live infected Covid-19 cells, left. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 1 2 “If we’re going to do this, we need to go fast, because every day matters,” Dr. Scangos recalls saying. Usually, such deals might take several months to a year to hammer out. Dr. Scangos and Dr. Barron set a goal of signing an agreement within three weeks. Some of the calls involved saying, “OK, if that’s important to George—done,” recalls Dr. Barron. “And he would say, ‘OK, if that’s important to you, done. Let’s move this thing along. Can’t lose the big picture.’̶1; The companies announced a deal on April 6, within 18 days of starting negotiations. Under the terms, Glaxo would purchase a $250 million stake in Vir at $37.73 a share, a 41% premium to the company’s average share price over the previous three months. Clinical trials are under way and the companies expect potential authorization for the drug in the first half of 2021. Glaxo is working with Vir Biotechnology Inc. on a Covid-19 drug designed to mimic natural antibodies the immune system makes to fight the virus. Here Vir scientists work on the project inside Vir’s labs in San Francisco. PHOTO: MARK JAYSON QUINES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL One Team Glaxo was even more aggressive in its pursuit of vaccine makers that wanted access to its adjuvant, the ingredient that boosts the immune response to a vaccine. One was Sanofi, which said in February it was developing a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Mr. Connor called David Loew, the head of Sanofi’s vaccine unit, to see if the French drugmaker would be interested in pairing its vaccine with Glaxo’s adjuvant. “This is an unusual call to have, but this is an unusual circumstance,” Mr. Connor recalls telling Mr. Loew during the initial call, in March. Executives say the company settled on its adjuvant strategy as a way to contribute to the Covid-19 response without losing focus on its pre-pandemic mission of reinvigorating the company’s product pipeline or disrupting its existing vaccine manufacturing supply chain. The company’s senior management had been overhauled a few years earlier amid shareholder disillusionment over the company’s mixed record in launching new blockbuster drugs. Its adjuvant was already proven to work with other vaccines, reducing its risk, and would be less of a manufacturing logistical challenge. During pandemics, adjuvants are especially valuable because they can increase the potency of vaccines, allowing companies to produce more doses from each batch it manufactures. Glaxo’s adjuvant, called AS03, is a combination of vitamin E and liver oil taken from sharks. The company used it to enhance the effectiveness of its vaccine for the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. To find partners for its adjuvant, Glaxo launched an internal project led by a team of Glaxo drug hunters who looked for anyone working on a key vaccine component—a protein known as an antigen—that would cause a person’s immune system to build up defenses against the new coronavirus. The hope was that people who got the antigen through vaccination would develop antibodies and perhaps other defenses that could protect against Covid-19. Glaxo’s drug hunters mapped every antigen in the works for Covid-19 using squares on a PowerPoint slide. Every square contained the name of a potential partner, details about the vaccine and a contact person who had spoken with Glaxo. The slide resembled a digital quilt, with some 100 squares. Some in the quilt approached Glaxo seeking help. Glaxo reached out to others. The campaign was “quite unusual for us,” says Mr. Connor. “Going out and offering it to the world was something quite, quite different.” On that first call with Sanofi, Mr. Connor said he remembers telling Mr. Loew: “‘There is an opportunity here for us to do something together, which means that we could ultimately go faster for the world and make a difference to the common enemy, which is the virus itself.’”; Within 36 hours, they agreed to create a joint task force that would start exchanging information and planning how to make the partnership work while the companies worked out a formal agreement. “We knew that the world was waiting,” Mr. Connor says. Initial meetings, held by videoconference among employees across multiple time zones, were “slightly awkward” as the rivals turned teammates felt each other out, said Thomas Triomphe, Sanofi’s executive vice president for vaccines. The companies hope to have results from early-stage studies in late November or early December, Mr. Triomphe said. They aim to start a 30,000-person study by the end of the year and to have the vaccine approved in the first half of 2021, he says. “When you’re facing a public-health crisis there is no team with a blue T-shirt and a team with an orange T-shirt. Very quickly, there was only one team,” Mr. Triomphe said. Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8 Appeared in the October 24, 2020, print edition as 'The Power of Good Chemistry.'
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