2020-03-19| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

Weekly Cover : Fosun and BioNTech Invest USD 135m for Covid-19 Vaccine

by GeneOnline
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By Ching-Hsu Yang, Ph.D. Candidate

1. Fosun and BioNTech Invest USD 135m for Covid-19 Vaccine

According to the press, as well as Fosun and BioNTech, the two firms have stepped into an alliance in China to promote coronavirus vaccines in the global battle against the pandemic. BioNTech said it was in advanced discussions with its existing partner Pfizer over the development of the vaccine outside China.

BioNTech said that it was engaging in early negotiations with its current collaborator, Pfizer, on vaccine production outside of China. Earlier this month, the U.S. drug company listed BioNTech as a strategic business partner.

About BioNTech

BioNTech Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech) is a next-generation immunotherapy firm that is developing new cancer and other severe diseases. The Company uses a large variety of analytical research and clinical product tools for the accelerated production of innovative biopharmaceuticals.

2.U.S.-Taiwan Joint Statement

On 18 March 2020, U.S. American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Foreign Minister Joseph Wu jointly declared the U.S .- Taiwan Joint Statement to further deepen U.S .- Taiwan collaboration and cooperation on the combat against the COVID-19 virus.

According to the statement, both sides would strive to exchange best practices and to collaborate on a variety of activities.

Under the collaboration, the following, inclusive of Research and Development of Rapid Tests; Research and Production of Vaccines Research and Production of Medicines Contact Tracing Techniques and Technology Joint conferences with Scientists and Experts, and Cooperation and Exchanges of Medical Supplies and Equipment and et cetera are areas of concern.

3. AI drug development platform raises $10 million in Series A by Chris Udemans Mar 16, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of AI in the prevention and detection of pathogens and the ability to rapidly develop innovative therapies for emerging infections.

China-based Stonewise, a project that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to develop drugs, raised nearly $10 million in Series A funding, the firm announced Monday.

About COVID-19

Covid-19, a SARS-like virus first identified in Wuhan, China, last December, has penetrated the world, infecting over 170,000 people. SARS-CoV-2, previously known by 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus responsible for the pandemic.

See More Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Johns Hopkins Medicine

4. Yale-based Research Lead to First FDA-Approved Traditional Chinese Medication for Liver Cancer

Yale Pharmacology Professor Yung-Chi Cheng, a pioneer in the design of medicines for hepatitis B, AIDS, and HIV, has been exploring a revolutionary theory of exploiting the medicinal ability of conventional Chinese medicine for over two decades.

The Yale-based research team is launching the first international clinical trial for a botanical drug known as YIV-906. The novel botanical medication is expected to allow conventional cancer therapy work better. Professor Cheng has set up a biotech called Yiviva, which has raised $5 million in 2018. This sets a milestone that may change the drug development industry.

About The Drug

YIV-906, having been transferred from Yiviva, a biotech company, originated from a blend of Chinese and Spanish culture, meaning “long live medicine.” The underlying Chinese treatment is a 1,800-year-old recipe for gastrointestinal problems to better treat cancer.

5. Eli Lilly, AbCellera Biologics to Co-develop Covid-19 therapies

Eli Lilly will collaborate with AbCellera to co-develop the most effective of more than 500 anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies found via AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response program.

The aim of the companies is to test potential new COVID-19 therapies in patients within the next four months.

Eli Lilly will work with AbCellera to co-develop the most effective of over 500 anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies found via AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response program. The goal of the firms is to study potentially new COVID-19 therapies in patients within the next four months.

About Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly and Company develops, produces, manufactures and markets prescription drugs for both humans and livestock. Eli Lilly products include neuroscience, endocrine, anti-infectives, cardiovascular agents, oncology, and animal health products.

About AbCellera

AbCellera is a biotechnological corporation located in Vancouver that researches and produces human antibodies to counter pandemics and emerging diseases. The organization is well recognized for its leadership role in the Pandemic Prevention Program, a collaboration of the DARPA Biotechnology Office.


6. Thermo Fisher’s Coronavirus Detection Kit Gets FDA Emergency Authorization

As Thermo Fisher Scientific confirmed its decision to buy Qiagen earlier this month, experts speculated that Thermo plans to extend its molecular diagnostic arsenal with Qiagen’s diagnostic test QIAstat-Dx for SARS-CoV-2 identification.

While the uncertainty of the situation in China could have played a part in securing the pact, the acquisition program had begun long before the outbreak in Wuhan. Interestingly, the CEO of Thermo Fisher, Marc N. Casper, said that the coronavirus sector was not a significant concern.

This news follows Roche’s announcement of emergency authorization approval for cobas SARS-CoV-2 kit to detect coronavirus in patient samples.

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Related Article: New Study Suggests How Children Might be Persistently Spreading Coronavirus



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