Because it is a private company, information on the use of chimpanzees in research by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is not readily available. However, according to GSK, a global company with nearly one million employees, “[a]t the end of October 2008, GSK introduced a new policy that we would not initiate or initiate funding of studies using great apes.” (1) In 2011, GSK’s Director of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Biology, Robert Hamatake, testified to the Institute of Medicine that they utilized in vitro alternatives a great deal, such as replicon systems, enzymatic assays, and the full life cycle infectious virus system, all of which had been valuable for drug discovery. Dr. Hamatake emphasized that there was no resultant delay in the development of GSK’s HCV vaccines because they do not use chimpanzees, nor did GSK’s decision indicate a lack of interest in competitive vaccine development.
Although GSK no longer uses chimpanzees in research, the company continues to use other animals, including rodents, rabbits, fish, ferrets, amphibians, pigs, dogs, cats, and other non-human primates.
(1) GlaxoSmithKline. Global public policy issues: Use of non-human primates (NHPs) in discovery and development of medicines and vaccines. Revised: March 2011. Accessed May 31, 2012 from http://www.gsk.com/policies/GSK-public-position-on-NHP.pdf.