BEIJING – Multiple China-based clinical trials have been put on hold as the country concentrates on its fight against COVID-19. To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected over 72,000 people and killed nearly 2,000, China has imposed travel and transport restrictions, making trips difficult or even impossible for patients and physicians. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, which alone has seen around 18,000 people infected, Yue Wang’s site management organization (SMO) is conducting 51 trials, including 39 oncology studies. She said that many visits have been cancelled.
BOGOTA, Colombia – Medical supply manufacturers in Argentina have seen a surge in demand for their products from China, which is reaching out globally for the goods it needs to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19.
The latest mutation to the coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, has sparked a reaction by many national governments, but the expense associated with development of vaccines and diagnostics is considerable. Ron Klain, who served as the Obama administration’s coordinator for the response to the Ebola virus, said during an Aspen Institute seminar that drug makers took a hit in their efforts to develop a vaccine for the Ebola virus, and thus there is a need to de-risk these and other development efforts in the private sector.
A half-day open meeting intended to examine “how the public perceives and values pharmaceutical quality,” convened by the Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University in cooperation with the FDA, included a rundown of the agency’s oversight program, results of surveys to measure viewpoints of patients and providers – and tart commentary from a two-member “reactant panel.”
The drug screens prompted by the SARS and MERS outbreaks have been useful for quickly identifying drug candidates. But in terms of their epidemiology, “SARS and MERS were different from this coronavirus,” Allison McGeer explained at a Feb. 3 webinar by Evercore ISI.
BEIJING – Share prices of Chinese biotechs that partner with Gilead Science Inc. have surged in China this week, after the U.S. firm’s remdesivir was identified as the most promising drug candidate to treat 2019-nCoV.
HONG KONG – A team of researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) claim to have invented the world’s fastest portable 2019-nCoV diagnostic device. From sampling to testing, the device is apparently able to detect the novel coronavirus in just 40 minutes. In comparison, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology that is currently in use can take between 1.5 to 3 hours. The device draws on the latest microfluidic chip technology from Shenzhen Shineway Hi-Tech Co. Ltd.
BEIJING – China’s partial shutdown caused by the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak has sparked global fears of a disrupted supply chain of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), as the country is a major exporter. Drugs that many depend on, such as ibuprofen and acarbose, could be affected.
BEIJING – Zhongshan-based Akeso Inc., which focuses on bispecific antibodies, is again seeking pre-revenue listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), after its first IPO attempt failed to go through in December. The move comes at a time when analysts believe the coronavirus outbreak is weighing on the city’s IPO market. The second application, submitted on Feb. 3, was again supported by Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan. The clinical-stage biotech is reportedly seeking $300 million to support its R&D through the IPO, particularly its core asset, AK-104, a PD-1/CTLA4 bispecific antibody.