Fighting coronavirus, together

April 6, 2020
It’s a new week. Today, we’re taking a look at how several BIO members are collaborating on COVID-19—from developing innovative science to sending their employees to the front lines of the fight. Here are about 720 words, or 3 minutes, 30 seconds.
BIO

It’s a new week. Today, we’re taking a look at how several BIO members are collaborating on COVID-19—from developing innovative science to sending their employees to the front lines of the fight. Here are about 720 words, or 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

Fighting coronavirus, together

 
Paragraph (sm) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus vel facilisis sample link.
 

BIO members continue to work hard on diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, and more in the fight against COVID-19—and we’re seeing an unprecedented level of collaboration between companies. Here are a few exciting developments from the past week. 

3 big players, 1 big initiative: BIO members Merck, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly—which employ doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals—announced medical service volunteer programs to enable employees who are licensed medical professionals to aid in the fight against COVID-19 while maintaining their base pay at the pharmaceutical companies. 

Merck will collaborate with The Health Management Academy to identify facilities with the greatest need and triage potential qualifying volunteers to serve.

Pfizer will allow medical colleagues to provide diagnostic, treatment, and public health support while receiving their full pay and benefits—and a guarantee their job will be waiting for them when the crisis is over. 

Eli Lilly employees will staff a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility in Indianapolis to serve front-line responders. 

And companies continue R&D—also together. As we reported last week, BIO members Vir Biotechnology and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals are collaborating on groundbreaking RNAi antiviral therapeutics to treat COVID-19. 

Cool, right? We got Alnylam’s CEO John Maraganore on video to talk about this groundbreaking science

 
John Maraganore
 

For more on BIO members’ work to fight the coronavirus, individually and together, visit www.bio.org/coronavirus.


More Health Care News: 

STAT: An interview with the CDC director on coronavirus, masks, and an agency gone quiet
“It has been nearly a month since the last CDC media briefing, which took place on March 9.”

STAT: Gilead ramps up production of experimental COVID-19 treatment amid criticism over access
“The drug maker now has 1.5 million individual dosages that could be used for more than 140,000 patients and is supplying the medicine, which is being made available through clinical trials and special access programs, at no charge.”

The New York Times: Can an old vaccine stop the new coronavirus?
“A vaccine that was developed a hundred years ago to fight the tuberculosis scourge in Europe is now being tested against the coronavirus by scientists eager to find a quick way to protect health care workers, among others.”

The Washington Post: For Alzheimer’s researchers, a long and frustrating struggle to find a drug
“More than 200 promising leads have fallen through just in the past decade… These failures aren’t for lack of trying. Instead, they are evidence that the disease and its causes are much more complex than researchers first appreciated.”

 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 

BARDA awards SAB $7.2 million to develop coronavirus therapeutic

There’s also news from the ag front: BIO member SAB Biotherapeutics received $7.2 million from BARDA to develop innovative animal biotechnology with huge potential to help humans in the fight against the coronavirus.

ICYMI: SAB Biotherapeutics has genetically engineered cows to produce human reagent antibodies to help diagnose and treat the coronavirus, as Agri-Pulse previously reported

Now, the company will partner with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the U.S. Department of Defense to move forward on clinical trials and manufacturing of SAB-185, a new class of therapeutic that produces human antibodies without the need for blood donations from people who have recovered from the deadly virus. 

This is a big deal. “[T]his approach produces greater quantities of the drug than the traditional human antibody donor methods,” explains the press release

This isn’t the first time SAB’s worked with BARDA. The agency awarded SAB $5.3 million in 2016 to test the therapeutic on MERS-CoV, important research that helped the company move quickly on a response to the novel coronavirus. 

The COVID-19 outbreak is demonstrating the vast potential of biotechnology to address challenges across sectors—and the need to support the work of small, innovative biotechs researching creative solutions. 

And it’s why, whatever happens with the new coronavirus, we must finish the research we start. “[We] have a tremendous amount of historical information and data about how we can potentially respond to this new coronavirus. That has allowed us to have some very directed strategies about how we bring this all together in order to respond,” said SAB CEO Eddie Sullivan

More news on BARDA:
STAT: This tiny federal agency was built to respond to a crisis like coronavirus. Now that it’s here, is BARDA ready? 

 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 
BIO Beltway Report
GoodDayBIO
 
 

President Trump’s Monday: The Coronavirus Task Force is scheduled to hold a press briefing at 5pm ET. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Coronavirus recess through April 20, though there’s a new special committee to oversee the coronavirus aid.

 
 
Paragraph (normal) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus sample link.
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook