The Coronavirus pandemic continues to lead every major news headline as the number of reported cases and death tolls increase globally. At the moment, there is no known COVID-19 vaccine, but these biotech stocks are working overtime to change that. These companies are leading the charge towards developing a preventative vaccine for coronavirus.
Top Companies Developing Coronavirus Vaccine
These companies are leading the race to a COVID-19 vaccine.
American multinational pharmaceutical company, Pfizer partnered with Germany’s BioNTech earlier this month to develop a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus. The name of the vaccine is BNT162, but it remains at the preclinical stage at the moment.
Pfizer and BioNTech would use the biotech company’s mRNA-based drug development platform. They will also utilize the research and development sites in the US and Germany to work on the drug. Pfizer would help with the development and distribution of the vaccine.
BioNTech is planning to start clinical trials for its vaccines by April. However, there is no specific timeline for when the drug would be released to the world. The world is hoping that the partnership between these two companies yields similar results as in the past. Pfizer worked with BioNTech in the past to develop mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.
The deal with Pfizer excludes China, as BioNTech already signed another agreement with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical outlining its rights in China for its experimental vaccine. Regardless, Pfizer and BioNTech are working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)
A seasoned virus fighter, Gilead Sciences is also working on a COVID-19 vaccine. Gilead is best-known for developing a cure for hepatitis-C, and the firm has also had success treating other viral diseases like HIV.
Gilead Sciences Inc. is currently carrying out a phase-3 clinical trial on its drug, remdesivir to see if it would cure Coronavirus. The phase 3 clinical trial will see how remdesivir performs in 400 patients with severe Coronavirus, and the results of the tests would be out by May. The clinical trials are being conducted in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.
While the drug had previously failed as an Ebola treatment, it is being tried on Coronavirus patients.
On March 25, the company asked the FDA to take back the controversial orphan drug designation the agency had given them for their remdesivir drug. This comes 48 hours after receiving the status from the FDA. However, criticism from lawmakers forced Gilead Sciences to ask the FDA to rescind its ‘orphan drug’ designation.
Gilead’s clinical trials are not limited to the United States. The Chinese Food and Drug Administration granted Gilead permission to carry out clinical trials in Wuhan starting this month.
Moderna is a Massachusetts-based biotech company that focuses on drug discovery and development based on messenger RNA (mRNA). The company is currently carrying out a clinical trial for its mRNA-1273 vaccine to see if it would treat the Covid-19 disease.
On March 16, Moderna announced that it dosed the first patient, with the clinical trial set to involve 45 healthy people. However, the first data of the clinical trial would be ready in two months, according to Moderna.
The trial is conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Patients of the study will get two doses of the mRNA-1273 28 days apart. Moderna is confident the vaccine could be available to some patients, most likely health workers, under emergency conditions in the fall. However, all that depends on the results of the clinical trial.
GlaxoSmithKline plc is a UK multinational pharmaceutical company based in London. This British company has been instrumental in the development of vaccines for diseases like papillomavirus (HPV) and the seasonal flu, among others.
Although it is not developing a vaccine of itself per-se, GlaxoSmithKline is providing a suitable platform for researchers to carry out clinical and preclinical studies for the Covid-19 virus.
They have been working on developing its pandemic adjuvant platform for vaccines called AS03 Adjuvant System. In February, GlaxoSmithKline plc announced that its partnership with the University of Queensland and Clover Biopharmaceuticals has allowed them to expand their collaborations with research groups, especially those in the US and China.
The company has been making its vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to research institutes. As a result, helping them carry out preclinical and clinical studies.
This is another German biotech company that has been working on developing a coronavirus vaccine. According to Friedrich von Bohlen, a board member of CureVac, the company expects to have a vaccine ready by fall.
CureVac is focusing on using mRNA to develop the vaccine, similar to what they did for the cure against rabies. At the moment, CureVac is still working on the vaccine. However, there is no name for their vaccine at this point.
CureVac expects to start a clinical trial by June 2020 after receiving over 80 million euros from the EU to fund the development of its vaccine. CureVac lags Moderna and BioNTech in terms of research but hopes to find a cure for the virus very soon.
Coronavirus Vaccine Update: Closing Thoughts
One of these biotech firms could be the first to develop a COVID-19 vaccine or cure. Whoever crosses the finish line first will land one serious payday. Expect to see a major rally if one of these firms gets a treatment approved. There’s also major money waiting for companies that can develop testing, treatments, and other COVID-19 related products.
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