Monday, February 6, 2023
Pharma: Covid-19 R&D and Product Pipeline

Pharma: Covid-19 R&D and Product Pipeline


We detail ongoing efforts by Pharma companies on Covid-19, going beyond vaccine development to cover those that are developing test kits and treatment drugs.

When news of Moderna having positive results from phase 1 vaccine trials hit media channels, it sent the company’s share price sky rocketing. Subsequent crticism by the scientific community cited lack of ‘hard evidence’ or publication of detailed findings in reputable scientific journals. This highlighted the importance of fact-based communication, in a period of grave uncertainty for populations globally.

Ongoing efforts are focused on 4 different areas. We highlight key players who have made significant advances in each and believe that this can help investors and the analyst community frame the conversation.

Our goal is to paint the facts as-is, in point, based on company disclosures and not just news flow. This is not an exhaustive list and we welcome refinements and comments from the community.

Recombinant Vaccines

AstraZeneca and Oxford: AXZD1222

UK based AstraZeneca is currently working with the Oxford University on Phase 2/3 trials on their vaccine. This follows a phase 1 trial of 1000 healthy individuals in the UK. As of 21 May’20, results of the Phase 1 trial has yet to be published (see link).

The effort has received US$ 1Bn in funding from the US government in exchange for securing 300M doses of the vaccine. The UK government has similarly secured a deal with AstraZeneca for 100M doses of the vaccine.

CanSino Biologics: AD5-nCOV

The Chinese pharmaceutical firm is similarly entering phase 2 trial with its vaccine. This follows a phase 1 trial of 108 individuals in Mar’20. Full findings and data from the trial has been published in The Lancet, citing that the vaccine is “tolerable and immunogenic in healthy adults”

This is one of two vaccines that the company is currently working on.

mRNA Vaccines

CanSino Biologics and Precision NanoSystems

The Canadian company is working together with CanSino Biologics on a mRNA-LNP nanoparticle vaccine. As part of the collaboration, Precision NanoSystems will focus on R&D while CanSino Biologics will handle trials, approvals and commercialization. As part of the agreement, CanSinoBIO has rights to commercialize the vaccine product in Asia (except Japan) with PNI retaining rights for rest of the world.

Pfizer and BioNTech: BNT162

Pfizer is working with German Biotech company BioNTech. The pair began trials within Germany in late-April and is currently undergoing phase 1/2 trial in the US. The US trail started on 5 May’20.

Moderna: mRNA-1273

The American biotech company began phase 1 trial in Mar’20 with 45 individuals. Partnering Swiss drug maker Lonza for manufacturing 1Bn doses per year.

At the time of writing, there is no indication that results from the trial have been formally published. The company’s stock price surged 30% when media channels announced “positive results” but subsequently drew criticism when management announced a stock offering for US$ 1bn 9 hours after its initial news release.

Treatment Drug

Gilead Sciences: Remdesivir

Gilead has recently completed and published results from a phase 3 trial of its antiviral drug Remdesivir.

The company has pledged to donate the first 1.5m doses of the drug and is currently negotiating license with generic manufacturers in India and Pakistan to secure its supply base. Bangladesh’s Beximco is slated to begin manufacturing the drug in May’20.

Test Kits

Abbott Laboratories: ID Now, rapid molecular test kit

Abbott’s test kits first received emergency authorization by the FDA in Mar’20. Despite initial criticism from the NYU about inaccuracies that drew significant media attention, the company has since published various rounds of subsequent test data.

The company has shopped 2M test kits as of 18 May’20, with existing capacity of 50K per day.

Roche: Elecsys, Serology test kit

Aimed at detecting antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in patients, Roche’s test kit received US FDA emergency approval in May’20. The company has since signed a supply deal for the UK and targets to manufacture >100M units in 2020.

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