Britain is on the verge of signing a £ 500 million ($ 624 million) supply contract with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for 60 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, the Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said that the UK is considering an option to buy the vaccine if it works in human studies that are scheduled to start in September.
Sanofi was not immediately available to comment on the report while a GSK spokesman declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for the UK Department of Commerce dealing with the UK's supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines said talks with various parties were ongoing about access, but did not confirm whether the Sanofi / GSK project was among them.
"The government's Vaccines Task Force is actively working with a variety of companies in the UK and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines," she said.
"Corresponding announcements of these agreements will be made as soon as agreements with one of these companies have been concluded and signed."
Sanofi is working on two possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant manufactured by GSK to potentially increase its effectiveness.
The clinical trial timeline is behind that of Moderna Inc, the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca Plc and an alliance of BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, whose projects made headlines in March by switching to human studies.
Sanofi and GSK have both stated that when developing a vaccine, quality takes precedence over speed.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout in London and Caroline Pailliez in Paris; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)