European Pharma's Response to Coronavirus Crisis

February 25, 2020

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has outlined the efforts of its member pharma companies in addressing the Coronavirus crisis.    Member companies are engaged in and supporting the development of collaborative research programs in order to fast-track the development of therapeutics and diagnostics for the coronavirus to complement the ongoing global activities on CoV vaccines, EFPIA reports. Companies have been donating investigational compounds that may have potential to treat coronavirus for emergency use and clinical trials, including compounds formerly tested on other viral pathogens such as Ebola and HIV. Other members are researching vaccine candidates for prevention and undertaking inventories of existing research portfolio libraries to identify additional potential treatments for research and development.   Pharma companies are also collaborating with European and global public health authorities, including the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the World Health Organization (WHO), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Chinese public health authorities to address the public health crisis. The collaborations are focused on all areas of R&D, including evaluating how pandemic preparedness platforms can potentially be tailored to address the coronavirus emergency, and leveraging existing R&D partnerships to accelerate development of antiviral agents against COVID-19.   Further details of individual pharma company efforts are detailed by EFPIA below.   AbbVie: In late January, the Chinese health authorities identified Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) as a potential treatment for the coronavirus and requested supply. AbbVie has donated approximately $2 million of Aluvia as an experimental option to help address the growing health crisis.    Bayer has made "substantial financial donations, as well as donations of several medicines, including an antibiotic, to support those affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in China." The donations have been made to the Chinese Red Cross.   Boehringer Ingelheim has made "a number of donations totaling more than $1 million to support the forefront fight against the epidemic in China including a donation to the China Red Cross Foundation to purchase medical protective materials for hospitals in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei."   Roche and Genentech are "providing scientific expertise and advice to WHO and other relevant stakeholders" and are working with Chinese health authorities and the government to help provide screening and healthcare, including supporting local health officials and hospitals in the Hubei Province.   GlaxoSmithKline and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations formed a new collaboration aimed at helping the global effort to develop a vaccine for the 2019-nCoV virus. GSK will make its established pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to enhance the development of an effective vaccine against 2019-nCoV.    Johnson & Johnson is "seeking to further expedite its investigational coronavirus vaccine program through an expanded collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services."    Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, will leverage previous development work for a SARS vaccine "which may unlock a fast path forward for developing a COVID-19 vaccine."