These are 10 biotech companies “leading the race” for a COVID-19 vaccine:
1. Pfizer Inc.
New York-based biotech giant Pfizer has announced a partnership with German company BioNtech to develop a COVID-19 vaccine aimed at messenger RNA (also known as mRNA). The two companies had previously worked together on a flu vaccine in 2018. This vaccine candidate is called BNT-162 and is now set to start clinical testing any day.
2. Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna Therapeutics is a biotech company based in Camrbidge, Massachusetts, which also works with mRNA. The company makes synthetic mRNA that can be injected into patients so that the body can develop its own treatments and therapies.
Moderna developed its first batch of vaccines only 42 days after the Chinese researchers published the genetic sequence of COVID-19. A study of 45 human patients between the ages of 18 and 55 is expected to be completed by June 2021.
3. Inovio Pharmaceuticals
Inovio is yet another American company. They have already completed the preclinical testing of their candidate, INO-4800, and are now taking the first steps in the clinical trial. The company has selected 30 patients from the United States, China, and South Korea. They project that the clinical study will be completed by the fall. Their goal is to produce 1 million doses at that time for use in further trials and in emergency cases.
4. Novavax Inc.
Novavavax, the creator of the next year’s flu vaccine, has announced that it has multiple coronavirus vaccine candidates. Clinical studies are scheduled to begin in June. The company also works with Emergent Biosolutions, mentioned below, on one of their experimental vaccines.
Australian company GlaxoSmithKline is a vaccine expert who develops the most popular vaccines for influenza and HPV. They specialize in adjuvants, which are additives to vaccines that enhance immunity, thus minimizing the dose needed to be effective. It could also be a great money-saving tool by enabling a faster manufacturing process. They have partnered with Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc. which will use adjuvants with its candidate, COVID-19 S-Trimer.
6. Johnson & Johnson
Household brand, Johnson & Johnson a multinational conglomerate are partnering with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop a vaccine. The company has started preclinical testing in Boston and is aiming to have a vaccine candidate by the end of April.
Sanofi, a French company that has previously worked on flu vaccines, has also partnered with BARDA to test its vaccine candidate. This project involves the use of recombinant DNA, which are DNA molecules formed by genetic recombination. This usually refers to the act of cloning molecules from multiple sources, creating a new sequence in a single molecule.
8. Vir Biotechnology
The San Francisco-based Vir teamed up with WuXi Biologics and Biogeb to create their candidate. This vaccine uses an antibody approach to make it more flexible to changes in the virus. Even if the virus mutates, an antibody vaccine would have been effective. Clinical tests will begin in the months to come.
9. Emergent BioSolutions
Emergent BioSolutions usually work on antibody treatments for infectious diseases and opioid overdoses. The company is working on two candidates that will use immunotherapy. Using antibodies derived from coronavirus-infected blood, the company will develop a drug that will introduce the body of the patient to an antibody so that, when the body of the patient sees it again (for example, if the person is exposed to COVID-19), they will know how to combat it. This is the basis of almost all vaccine technology. Emergent is carrying out this work with both Novavax and Vaxart..
Due to its method of delivery, Vaxart’s candidate is unique to most other candidates. The company focuses on the production of an oral vaccine in the form of a pill. The logic behind this method is that it can greatly increase the efficiency of production, distribution and administration. Patients would be able to take this kind of treatment at home.
What are your thoughts about these vaccines?