A list of biopharma companies and nonprofit entities, including academia, working feverishly to find a vaccine or antiviral treatment to address the rapidly spreading coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, has more than doubled, increasing from about 30 a few weeks ago to 71 as of March 6.
As more companies make public announcements of their research efforts, the virus continues to spread into parts of the U.S. and around the world. As of March 5, it had infected 95,333 people globally across 85 nations, and is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths in China and another 267 deaths outside of China, according to the World Health Organization. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Compiled mainly through Cortellis and BioWorld archives, the list of biopharma products in development includes established drugs, such as Abbvie Inc.’s HIV drug Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir), which is now in the hands of Chinese health authorities. It also highlights candidates developed for other infectious indications, such as influenza drug favipiravir, which has entered clinical trials for COVID-19 started by both Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd. within the last month, and Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir, which also targets Ebola and Nipah virus.
Academic institutions, such as the University of Queensland, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Pittsburgh, are all researching a potential vaccine for COVID-19. And Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., in collaboration with Vir Biotechnology Inc., is one of two companies to announce development of RNAi therapies for COVID-19. Sirnaomics Inc. is the other. Those working on messenger RNA vaccines include Curevac AG, Zy Therapeutics Inc. in collaboration with Guanhao Biotech Co. Ltd., Moderna Therapeutics Inc., and Stermirna Therapeutics Co. Ltd. in collaboration with Tongji University. A number of companies are also focusing on antivirals. Mateon Therapeutics Inc. just announced this week its research plans to address COVID-19 with small molecules that modulate cathepsin activity, as well as with new monoclonal antibodies, and with OT-101, a TGF-beta inhibitor, to treat viral-induced pneumonia.
A list of all vaccines and therapeutics in development can be found here.
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