At the end of March, around 20 companies have potential medicines in various stages of development, with at least four existing medicines now in late phase clinical trials.
Meanwhile there are around fifty projects exploring a variety of vaccine technologies, many of them industry/academia collaborations, and the most advanced entering early phase clinical trials.
AbbVie announced it is partnering with global authorities to determine the effectiveness of HIV drugs in treating COVID-19. AbbVie is supporting clinical studies and basic research, working closely with European health authorities and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to coordinate these efforts.
Boehringer Ingelheim immediately identified the areas of expertise, where they can best contribute to developing therapies for COVID-19 in close collaboration with academic researchers, international institutions and others in the pharma industry.
BI has joined a fast track call for project submissions to develop therapies and diagnostic tools initiated by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) of the European Union to accelerate the development of potential therapies for COVID-19.
They are also working to develop neutralizing antibodies and investigating existing pipeline and in-market compounds as well as compounds from former research activities.
EFPIA is working with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) on potential actions to support collaborative research programs in order to fast-track the development of therapeutics.
Johnson & Johnson announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020. The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.
In partnership with the Rega Institute for Medical Research, University of Leuven (Belgium), J&J are also working to identify existing or new compounds with antiviral activity against COVID-19 that could contribute to providing immediate relief to the current outbreak.
Pfizer announced that it completed a preliminary assessment of certain antiviral compounds that were previously in development and that inhibited the replication of coronaviruses similar to the one causing COVID-19 in cultured cells. Pfizer is engaging with a third party to screen these compounds under an accelerated timeline and expects to have the results back by the end of March.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi SA started a clinical program in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.
Takeda announced that it is initiating the development of a drug to treat people infected with the novel coronavirus. The experimental drug would be derived from the blood of coronavirus patients who have recovered from the respiratory disease.
In parallel, Takeda is also exploring whether currently marketed and pipeline products may be an effective treatment option for infected patients.
AstraZeneca's Research and development teams have also been working expeditiously to identify monoclonal antibodies to progress towards clinical trial evaluation as a treatment to prevent COVID-19.
More than 50 virology, immunology, respiratory, and protein engineering experts across research, clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing are placing the highest priority on developing a treatment to minimise the global impact of the disease.
Eli Lilly and AbCellera have entered into an agreement to co-develop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. The collaboration will use AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) Program, and Lilly’s global capabilities for rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutic antibodies.
GSK is entering into the new collaborative research effort, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. The aim of the Accelerator is to bring pharmaceutical companies and expert academic institutions into coordinated research programs, with the aim of bringing the most promising molecules forward that could be used to treat cases of COVID-19.
GSK will contribute by making available compounds from its libraries for screening for activity against COVID-19. In addition, GSK is evaluating its marketed pharmaceutical products and medicines in development to determine if any could be used beyond their current indications in response to the pandemic.
Further, GSK is evaluating options to make available specialised laboratory space to help in research and testing of COVID-19.
MSD is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and industry peers during this challenging period to accelerate the development, manufacture, and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19. As part of this commitment of expertise and assets MSD will be actively participating in the Therapeutics, Vaccines Manufacturing, and Clinical and Regulatory workstreams.
Novartis announced that it has entered new collaborative research efforts such as the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard, as well as a COVID-19 directed partnership organized by the Innovative Medicines Initiative.
Novartis is contributing by making available several compounds from its libraries that are considered suitable for in vitro antiviral testing. In addition, the company is rapidly evaluating other existing products to see if any could be used beyond their approved indications in response to the pandemic.
Pfizer also outlined a detailed 5-point action plan to battle COVID-19. The plan includes a commitment to sharing its clinical development and regulatory expertise to support other smaller biotech companies that are screening compounds or existing therapies for activity against the virus causing COVID-19.
Roche has donated nearly $2 million-worth of one of its medicines to China to help the country manage the COVID-19 outbreak. The medicine has been on the European market since 2010 for treatment of several kinds of arthritis.