Life Science companies in the headlines responding to COVID-19

Posted Jun 4, 2020

The Life Science industry is rapidly innovating in response to COVID-19. Below we’ve outlined some of the recent stories from major Biotech, Pharmaceutical and MedTech companies with operations in Ireland and what they are doing to combat the current crisis.

March 12th- AbCellera and Lilly to Co-develop Antibody Therapies for the Treatment of COVID-19
AbCellera and Eli Lilly and Company  have entered into an agreement to co-develop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. The collaboration will leverage AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) Program, and Lilly’s global capabilities for rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutic antibodies.  Read more >>

March 17th – Pfizer joins forces with BioNTech for COVID-19 Vaccine Co-Development
Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to a letter of intent regarding the co-development and distribution of a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection. This partnership builds on a 2018 agreement between the two companies to jointly develop an mRNA-based influenza vaccine. The additional agreement covers co-development and co-commercialization (excluding China) aimed at accelerating the development of BioNTech’s potential first-in-class COVID-19 mRNA vaccine program, BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of next month. Read more >> 

March 28th – Abbott receives FDA approval for rapid COVID-19 test
Abbott Laboratories has unveiled a portable test that identifies if someone has Covid-19 in as little as five minutes. Abbot said the US FDA had given it emergency authorisation to begin making the test available to healthcare providers as early as next week. The test, which is the size of a small toaster and uses molecular technology, also shows negative results within 13 minutes, the company said in a press statement. Read more >>

March 30th – Regeneron expands Covid-19 drug treatment trials
Biotech company Regeneron, which has a major industrial operations centre in Limerick, has expanded trails of its arthritis drug as a possible treatment for Covid-19. In a partnership with French drug company Sanofi, Regeneron has begun treating the first patient outside of the US as part of a global clinical program evaluating Kevzara in patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19.

The global clinical program has now been initiated in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, Russia and the United States – all countries that have been impacted by COVID-19.

Separately, Regeneron is also to begin human trials of a new Covid-19 treatment by early summer. Read more >>

March 30th –  Johnson & Johnson: Covid-19 human vaccine trials to begin in coming months
Johnson and Johnson will start coronavirus vaccine trials in humans later this year and the pharmaceutical company says it hopes the drug will be ready for emergency use by early next year. Johnson and Johnson said it had started work on a vaccine in January, and is aiming to start testing on people by September. It anticipates the first batches of a Covid-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison with the typical vaccine development process. Read more >>

April 2nd – Amgen and Adaptive team up to both treat and prevent COVID-19
Amgen and new partner Adaptive Biotechnologies have confirmed they are joining forces to combat the pandemic. The companies have announced they will “start work immediately,” to develop fully human neutralizing antibodies targeting the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2. The collaboration sees the pair tap into Adaptive’s immune medicine platform to seek out virus-neutralizing antibodies and work this alongside Amgen’s expertise in immunology and antibody therapy development. Read more >>

April 6th –  Medtronic Galway aiming to make 1,000 ventilators a week and company publicly shares it’s Ventilation design specifications to accelerate production in fight against COVID-19
Galway-based ventilator maker Medtronic is ramping up again the number of ventilators it is making in Galway to meet worldwide demand for the life-saving device in the coronavirus outbreak. The company  plans to increase ventilator manufacturing at the Mervue facility, from 400 ventilators at week at the end of this month, to 700 weekly at the end of May and more than 1,000 by the end of June. Read more >>

The MedTech company has also made the decision to publicly share it’s Ventilation design specifications to accelerate production of ventilators in order to help patients with Covid-19. Read more >>

If you want to find out more about what’s happening in the Life Sciences sector amid the current crisis click here to contact LSC today!