Pharma Stands United Against COVID-19
BioSpectrum Asia|August 2020
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Pharma Stands United Against COVID-19
This is perhaps the first time in the history of the pharmaceutical industry that the major rivals have joined hands against COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, which has engulfed the entire world. Various stakeholders have come together to contain the spread of the virus. There are more than 30 partnerships (13 with Asian firms) at present between various patrons across the globe, in a race to find a cure for the virus. Could these collaborations change the future of the pharma industry? Let’s find out.

The coronavirus pandemic started in December in China and now has moved to the entire world shows no signs of stopping. As of July 30, 2020, global cases have surpassed 17 million cases and 667,000 deaths, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University. Pharma companies, governments, academic institutions have all come together to find a cure for the virus. There are 26 vaccine candidates in clinical evaluations and 139 candidates in preclinical evaluation around the world. (As of July 31, 2020. Source: World Health Organization, WHO). Since April 2020, more than 10 companies across the globe are working on antibodies for COVID-19.

Partnering for a common goal

Pharma companies across the globe have been quick enough to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Setting aside the financial gains and rivalry, pharma firms have come together to form a strong bond to fight COVID-19.

“In any case, the more companies that are trying to develop a vaccine, the higher the chances are that one might succeed” Dr Philipp Rosenbaum, Infectious Diseases Analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement.

Echoing similar sentiment Dr Marinella Sandros, Senior Global Product Manager, GenScript Biotech, USA said, “Even prior to COVID-19, collaborations in the pharma industry with other companies and academic institutions were already on the rise. What this pandemic has reinforced, however is, how large scale collaboration and the unifying of strengths and assets among different companies/organizations can help meet the urgent, massive global demand for therapeutic, diagnostic and prevention solutions for the virus.”

Pharma partnerships in Asia

There are more than 30 partnerships at present between various pharma firms (50 and above), research institutes, and government across the globe, in a race to develop a cure for the virus. The US leads the way globally with more partnerships, while Asia is dominated by China, India, and Australia.

Of these 13 are with the firms based in the Asia Pacific. The partnerships range from providing funding like in the case of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to sharing resources and providing technical expertise like GSK’s partnerships with Clover. Most of them have partnered to develop a vaccine for the virus.

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August 2020