GlaxoSmithKline poaches Pfizer’s vaccine chief after Covid jab failure

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GlaxoSmithKline is poaching Pfizer’s vaccine guru after failing to produce its own Covid jab following a series of setbacks earlier in the pandemic.

GSK said Phil Dormitzer will join as its global head of vaccines research and development this Friday. He will be based in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Mr Dormitzer has played a key role during the pandemic as Pfizer’s vice-president and chief scientific officer of RNA and viral vaccines. 

He headed up the team that developed Pfizer’s Covid jab in conjunction with Germany’s BioNTech. 

That vaccine is one of the most widely used globally and accounts for about half of the doses administered in Britain.

Hal Barron, GSK’s chief scientific officer, said Mr Dormitzer’s appointment would be key to ensuring the company remains a leader in this field.

“The importance of vaccines has never been clearer, and the pace of technological innovation has rarely been greater,” he said.

GSK is still awaiting the final data from its Covid jab trials but it is expected imminently. 

The FTSE 100 company first started developing a jab with French partner Sanofi in April 2020. It  had been expected to be among the first wave of vaccines but faced a series of setbacks that included dosing errors in early trials. 

That left GSK, one of the world’s top vaccine makers, still without a Covid jab on the market.

Meanwhile, the UK’s other major pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which was previously a far smaller player in the sector, has produced 2bn doses of its jab.

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