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Modak thanks pharma’s Covid-19 efforts


In these uncertain times of increasing pandemic, many pharmaceutical companies across the globe have been fighting the battle against Covid-19 on the frontlines. They are making efforts to combat virus in multiple areas, such as research and development of vaccine candidates, clinical trials, develop therapies and improve diagnostic testing capabilities. For all this and more, we at Modak want to offer our heartfelt thanks to pharmaceutical firms! We want to assure that Modak will be there to support its customers and partners.

As pharmaceutical firms, including start-ups, collaborate to tackle Covid-19, there have been a few developments in many areas.  Many companies are partnering in experiments and projects to accelerate the process of responding to the virus. While some are sharing their technologies, others are using their expertise and earlier studies. Here are a few developments around the world in the past few months in the fight against Covid-19 in brief.

The below graph shows how far various companies have reached so far in their efforts to find a solution for this global pandemic. The bars represent the number of companies at various stages.

Figure: companies at various stages in vaccine development

Recent developments at various companies

Pfizer  has announced a five-point plan to help scientists develop treatments and vaccines and has given a call to pharmaceutical industry to collaborate with the company in sharing tools, marshalling people, offering manufacturing capabilities and improving rapid response. Pfizer is developing and distributing BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

GlaxoSmithKline  has said that the University of Queensland would have access to its adjuvant platform technology, which is believed to both strengthen the response of a vaccine and limit the amount of vaccine needed per dose. The company has also given access to its adjuvant technology to Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a Chinese biotechnology company, for its vaccine candidate, COVID-19 S-Trimer, in preclinical studies.

Johnson & Johnson  is working with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to test its vaccine candidate, with each organization providing $1 billion for research and development. The company has also started preclinical testing on multiple candidates in collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) in Boston, and has identified a lead vaccine candidate. The company, in partnership with BARDA, is also working on to screen existing antiviral medications that may be effective against COVID-19.

Roche, in collaboration with BARDA, is evaluating its drug Actemra as a treatment for COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized with severe pneumonia. Roche expects to begin enrolling around 330 patients in early April. The company plans to examine patient mortality and need for mechanical ventilation or an intensive care unit stay among others.

CytoDyn, a preclinical biotechnology company based in Vancouver, has been approved to test the efficacy and safety of its experimental drug, Leronlimab, in Covid-19 patients. It’s being proposed as a treatment for mild-to-moderate respiratory complications that occur in patients with the disease.

AstraZeneca  has been working on to enhance its diagnostic testing capabilities and collaborating with governments on existing screening programmes to augment testing.

AbbVie  has been partnering with authorities across the globe to determine the effectiveness of HIV drugs in treating Covid-19.

Gilead  is conducting a randomized, controlled clinical trial in Wuhan, testing for its drug remdesivir as a treatment for mild-to-moderate forms of pneumonia in people with the virus.

Heat Biologics has announced that it is developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus with Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

Novavax , a preclinical biotechnology company, announced Feb. 26 it had several vaccine candidates in preclinical animal studies, and it is planning to initiate a Phase I clinical study by June.

Moderna  has received funding from CEPI to develop an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Vir Biotechnology  has been collaborating with Shanghai-based WuXi Biologics to test monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for COVID-19. They will work together to develop antibodies to treat SARS-CoV-2.

Regeneron  is working on developing monoclonal antibodies as treatments for COVID-19. The company aims to have hundreds of thousands of prophylactic doses ready for human testing by end of August.

Sanofi  is working with BARDA to test a preclinical vaccine candidate for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) for COVID-19 using its recombinant DNA platform.

Vaxart  was one of the first companies to announce plans to develop a vaccine. It has announced that Emergent Bio Solutions would help develop and manufacture its oral vaccine candidate. The company plans to start a Phase 1 clinical trial in the U.S. in late 2020.

Inovio  develops immunotherapies and vaccines, but hasn’t yet had a product approved for treatment. The company plans to begin clinical trials with 30 participants in April in the U.S.