Pfizer’s investing $500 million in biotech breakthroughs

June 3, 2020
Innovation. We know, we use this buzzword every single day around here—but it really is what’s driving the next generation of cures, what could prevent the next zoonotic disease pandemic, and what will get us out of this crisis. Today, we’re taking a look at how Pfizer…
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Innovation. We know, we use this buzzword every single day around here—but it really is what’s driving the next generation of cures, what could prevent the next zoonotic disease pandemic, and what will get us out of this crisis. Today, we’re taking a look at how Pfizer’s investing in it, how regulatory policy could support it, and how one vaccine pioneer is using it to develop a few promising COVID-19 candidates. Here are around 777 words, just under 4 minutes.

Pfizer’s investing $500 million in biotech breakthroughs

BIO member Pfizer announced a new initiative to support biotechnology innovation, by investing in promising clinical-stage biotech companies.

The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative was established to ensure continuity of the most promising clinical development programs by investing up to $500 million in biotech companies and providing them with access to Pfizer’s scientific, clinical, and manufacturing expertise. 

The initiative will focus on making non-controlling equity investments in clinical-stage public companies, primarily small- and medium-sized market capitalizations in categories including internal medicine, inflammation and immunology, oncology, rare disease, vaccines, and hospital.

Partner companies may also have the opportunity to access Pfizer’s expertise and resources in research, clinical development, and manufacturing.

And they’re looking globally, planning to collaborate with companies that have promising scientific breakthroughs, regardless of where they’re located.

What they’re saying: “We recognize that the uncertainty in the financial markets has exacerbated the need for many companies in the biotech community to seek alternative funding sources in order to continue their clinical programs. The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative will allow us deploy Pfizer’s resources to companies that share in our commitment to deliver transformative therapies to patients,” said John Young, Pfizer’s Chief Business Officer. 

Interested? Contact pbgi@pfizer.com.

Want to know more about what Pfizer’s doing? Pfizer’s John Young will join us for a fireside chat during BIO Digital next Wednesday—register now!

 

More Health Care News: 

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CBS News: Congo is battling coronavirus, measles and a new Ebola outbreak
“Health officials have confirmed a second Ebola outbreak in Congo, the World Health Organization said Monday.” 

 
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2 policy proposals that could prevent the next pandemic

How can we become more resilient and prevent the next zoonotic disease pandemic? To start, we can establish a national One Health framework and modernize regulation of animal biotech, as we wrote in a letter to Congress yesterday

BIO and 27 members of the Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA) sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging Congress to support two policy proposals: the Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act, and legislation to streamline regulatory oversight of animal biotech. 

The bipartisan One Health legislation would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to coordinate with other agencies and state and local officials to advance a national One Health framework. 

This framework would help us better prevent, prepare for, and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks (like COVID-19!) by eliminating the barriers that often exist between human health, animal health, and environmental health strategies. 

Animal biotech is a critical component. Genetic innovation in animals can help prevent and respond to infectious disease—such as making pigs resistant to African Swine Fever, or chickens resistant to bird flu.

But animal biotech regulation needs modernization. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current regulatory structure puts an entirely new generation of technology at risk and threatens to drive research, jobs, and innovation overseas. 

That’s why we need to streamline it. We call for legislation to direct the FDA and USDA to work together to streamline oversight of animal biotech innovation. 

Why it matters: “Elevating and prioritizing the relationship of living things through One Health strategies and modernizing America’s animal biotechnology regulatory approach are two policies Congress must address in any future COVID-19 legislation," the letter states. "Doing so will ensure we are ready for the next potential animal to human disease outbreak.” 

 
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BIOTECHNOLOGY: BEYOND IMAGINATION

Sanofi: Stopping the COVID “Spike”

Stopping the COVID “Spike”.png
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We all know this unfortunate truth: COVID-19 is likely to remain with us, circulating around the world, until we develop a vaccine.

Luckily, vaccine pioneer Sanofi Pasteur is on the case with several candidates in the pipeline.

One candidate is focused on the “spike” protein of the virus, which is how it invades human cells. Working in collaboration with GSK, the candidate uses Sanofi’s DNA-based protein platform to test the spike protein with an adjuvant in hopes of creating a strong immune response.

The other candidate, developed with Translate Bio, uses mRNA coding for the spike protein that enables the body to produce the viral antigen, to potentially generate a protective immune response. 

Click here to watch and learn more.

 

 
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President Trump’s Wednesday: Not much on the public agenda today; the press secretary is expected to hold a briefing at 2 PM ET. Meanwhile, Pentagon officials are concerned about Trump’s use of the military for political purposes, reports POLITICO

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House is not in session, but will hold a few hearings related to COVID-19, including a Budget Committee virtual hearing on addressing the economic impact of the pandemic. The Senate’s in session and voting on a number of appointments.

 
 
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