COVID-19: Updates on vaccines and therapeutics


Keep on top of the latest updates on therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19, from new partnerships to clinical trials.

8 April 2020

  • Viriom (CA, USA) initiates Phase II clinical trial of elsulfavirine for treatment of moderate COVID-19
  • MediciNova (CA, USA) announces plans to initiate a clinical trial of MN-166 (ibudilast) for COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Flow Pharma (CA, USA) announces initiation of pre-clinical study to test efficacy of FlowVax COVID-19 vaccine
  • Chugai (Tokyo, Japan) starts Phase III clinical trial of monoclonal antibody treatment Actemra for COVID-19 pneumonia
  • Oxford Biomedica (UK) joins Consortium to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCov-19
  • Novant Health (NC, USA) starts Phase II COVID-19 trial testing CytoDyn’s (WA, USA) leronlimab
  • Oral antiviral EIDD-2801 shows promising preclinical results against COVID-19
  • FDA approves Investigational New Drug application, allowing Ridgeback Biotherapeutics (FL, USA) to begin human testing of EIDD-2801, a potential treatment for COVID-19
  • Serum Institute of India (Pune, India) currently testing two COVID-19 vaccine candidates in preclinical trials
  • Kedrion Biopharma (Lucca, Italy) announces initiation of the development of a plasma-based therapy for treating COVID-19
  • The Vector Institute (Kol’tsovo, Russia) announces plans to start clinical trials for coronavirus in June
  • Queen’s University (Belfast, UK) leading cell therapy clinical trial to help improve outcomes in COVID-19 patients
  • The Montreal Heart Institute (Canada) announces partnership with the NYU Grossman School of Medicine (NY, USA) for its COVID-19 clinical study evaluating colchicine for preventing major inflammatory storm
  • Cytovia Therapeutics (NY, USA) and Macromoltek (TX, USA) to develop natural killer immunotherapy against SARS-CoV-2
  • Mateon (CA, USA) expands its COVID-19 therapeutic program to include anti-malarial drug Artemisinin

7 April 2020

  • Imophoron (Bristol, UK) uses new vaccine platform, the ADDomer©, to develop COVID-19 candidates
  • The first patients enrol in a trial testing the Roche’s (Basel, Switzerland) arthritis drug Actemra against the coronavirus
  • First published clinical trial for treatment of COVID-19 using lopinavir and ritonavir deemed successful by Lancaster University (UK) academic
  • Plans for controlled distribution of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and Kaletra (lopinavir & ritonavir) in Belgium have been announced to enhance monitoring of treatments
  • MedinCell (France) launches a COVID-19 research initiative to formulate long-acting injectable Ivermectin after positive preclinical results from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Global plasma leaders collaborate to accelerate development of potential COVID-19 hyperimmune therapy
  • Applied Biology (CA, USA) to launch COVID-19 drug discovery platform for based on discovery made in collaboration with Brown University (RI, USA) researchers
  • Healx (Cambridge, UK) announces use of artificial intelligence to find combination drug treatments for COVID-19, with combination therapy candidates expected in May

6 April 2020

  • Inovio (PA, USA) to begin dosing in Phase I clinical trial of INO-4800 DNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19
  • RedHill Biopharma (Israel) announces first COVID-19 patient treated with investigational new drug opaganib in Israel under compassionate use
  • Izana Bioscience (Oxford, UK) initiates study involving namilumab in the treatment of individual patients with rapidly worsening COVID-19 infection in Italy
  • OncoSec (NJ, USA) and Providence Cancer Institute (OR, USA) to conduct first-in-human trial of OncoSec’s CORVax12, an investigational vaccine to prevent COVID-19
  • First two patients enrolled in randomized Phase II trial testing leronlimab for treatment of COVID-19
  • FDA clears investigational new drug application for Mesoblast (Melbourne, Australia) to use remestemcel-L for treating COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress

3 April 2020

  • Trial drug against COVID-19 shows promise in engineered human tissues
  • COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in preclinical research
  • Ennaid Therapeutics (GA, USA) announces development of ENU200, a novel antiviral therapeutic, for the treatment of COVID-19
  • University Hospital Basel (Switzerland) transfuses first two COVID-19 patients With INTERCEPT-treated coronavirus convalescent plasma
  • PharmaMar (Madrid, Spain) submits a Phase II clinical trial protocol of plitidepsin for the treatment of COVID-19 to the Spanish Medicines Agency
  • Vanda Pharmaceuticals (WA, USA) announces the initiation of ODYSSEY, an FDA-approved Phase III clinical study of tradipitant in hospitalized patients with Severe COVID-19 pneumonia
  • Incyte (DE, USA) and Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) to initiate a Phase III study testing ruxolitinib for severe COVID-19 patients
  • Flinders University (Adelaide, Australia) begins testing of COVID-19 vaccine candidate
  • Celltrion’s (Incheon, South Korea) COVID-19 antiviral treatment enters the second phase of development
  • Anti-parasitic drug ivermectin kills COVID-19 in Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (Vicotria, Australia) lab
  • I-Mab (China) announces FDA clearance of Investigational New Drug application (IND) to initiate clinical study for TJM2 to treat cytokine release syndrome (CRS) associated with COVID-19

2 April 2020

  • Noxopharm (New South Wales, Australia) to investigate potential for idronoxil in treating COVID-19
  • Algernon (Vancouver, Canada) announces plans to initiate Phase II clinical testing of ifenprodil for COVID-19 among patients in South Korea
  • Applied Therapeutics (NY, USA) announces Investigational New Drug clearance with FDA and investigator-initiated studies of AT-001 to address acute lung inflammation and cardiomyopathy in critical COVID-19 patients
  • Ansun Biopharma (CA, USA) announces positive results from investigator-initiated trial of DAS181, a novel COVID-19 treatment
  • Celularity (NJ, USA) announces FDA clearance of Investigational New Drug application for CYNK-001 in treating the coronavirus, and plans to commence a Phase I/II clinical study
  • Amgen (CA, USA) and Adaptive Biotechnologies (WA, USA) collaborate to develop neutralising antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2
  • APEIRON Biologics (Vienna, Austria) initiates Phase II clinical trial of APN01 for treatment of COVID-19
  • Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helps to speed the recovery of patients in a small study conducted at the Renmin Hospital (Wuhan, China)

1 April 2020

  • Gilead (CA, USA) set to begin two Phase III randomised studies testing the safety and antiviral activity of remdesivir in participants with moderate to severe COVID-19
  • Innovation Pharmaceuticals (MA, USA) receives data supporting brilacidin’s direct inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical testing
  • FDA launches programme, dubbed the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Programme, to speed development of COVID-19 treatments
  • Fujifilm Pharmaceuticals (MA, USA) initiates clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of its influenza drug Avigan treat the coronavirus
  • Ostrich Pharma USA (MA, USA) develops antibodies to block the SARS-CoV-2
  • Neurimmune (Zurich, Switzerland) and Ethris (Munich, Germany) collaborate to develop inhaled mRNA-based antibody therapy for the treatment of COVID-19
  • InflaRx (Jena, Germany) treats the first patient in a multicenter randomized controlled clinical trial with IFX-1 in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia in the Netherlands
  • Synairgen (Southampton, UK) confirms commencement of dosing in trial of SNG001 for patients with COVID-19

31 March 2020

  • Israel Institute for Biological Research initiates testing of a COVID-19 vaccine prototype on animal models at its bio-chemical defence laboratory
  • VBI Vaccines (MA, USA) announces collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada to develop pan-coronavirus vaccine candidate targeting COVID-19, SARS, and MERS
  • Senhwa Biosciences’ (Taiwan) drug silmitasertib reported as potential COVID-19 therapy, according to recent research from the University of California San Francisco (CA, USA)
  • GigaGen (CA, USA) initiates development of recombinant polyclonal antibody therapy, recombinant anti-coronavirus 19 hyperimmune gammaglobulin, for treatment of COVID-19
  • Cobra Biologics (Keele, UK) and the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) collaborate to develop COVID-19 vaccine

27 March 2020

  • iBio (DE, USA) announces advancement of COVID-19 vaccine program, IBIO-200
  • Sanofi (France) and Translate Bio (MA, USA) to jointly develop mRNA vaccine for COVID-19
  • Altasciences (Canada) completes Phase I study on gimsilumab for acute respiratory distress syndrome in COVID-19
  • Vyripharm Biopharmaceuticals (TX, USA) announces plans to repurpose the development of a novel theranostic platform for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of viral infections such as COVID-19.
  • ImmuneMed (Korea) to test its potential COVID-19 cure, HzVSF, outside Korea, after efficacy was demonstrated in five hospitalized patients
  • BioDuro LLC (CA, USA)  announces the initiation of a COVID-19 nanobody therapeutic program
  • New York state Health Department officials report plans to begin clinical trials next week for a malaria drug combination (hydroxychloroquine, Zithromax and chloroquine) that appears to hold some promise for battling COVID-19

26 March 2020

  • NeuroClear (CT, USA) acquires license to develop a broad-spectrum anti-viral agent that could treat COVID-19, with initial laboratory results demonstrating a high level of activity against COVID-19
  • Sorrento (CA, USA) launches novel STI-6991 I-Cell COVID-19 cellular vaccine program
  • Xencor and Vir Biotechnology (both CA, USA) enter license agreement for use of Xtend XmAb antibody technology for investigating antibodies as potential treatments for patients with COVID-19
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Australia) to trial BCG vaccine against COVID-19
  • Relief Therapeutics (Switzerland) and NeuroRx Inc (DE, USA) file an Investigational New Drug application with the US FDA for a phase II trial of RLF-100 (Aviptadil) in the treatment of COVID-19-induced Acute and Moderate Respiratory Distress

25 March 2020

  • Researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School (Singapore) plan to start testing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate later this year
  • Mateon (CA, USA) reports positive results for multiple COVID-19 drug candidates
  • Vir Biotechnology (CA, USA) to proceed with two clinical development candidates for COVID-19 after announcing that it has identified multiple human monoclonal antibody development candidates that neutralize SARS-CoV-2
  • Clinical study from Ascletis Pharma (China) using danoprevir with ritonavir to treat naive and experienced COVID-19 patients has yielded promising results

24 March 2020

FDA approves Phase III trial of Actemra, developed by Roche (Swizerland), for hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia

23 March 2020

  • Bayer (Germany), Novartis (Switzerland) and Teva (Israel) donate chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in hopes antimalarials are effective against COVID-19
  • UK clinical testing on an Oxford University (UK) COVID-19 vaccine candidate dubbed ChAdOx1 could begin as early as next month

20 March 2020

  • Roche (Basel, Switzerland) announce they have initiated a Phase III study to investigate the use of Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab) plus standard-of-care in hospitalised adults with severe COVID-19 pneumonia compared to placebo plus standard of care
  • Study results published in the New England Journal Of Medicine suggest that the addition of AbbVie’s (IL, USA) Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) to standard care in seriously ill patients with confirmed COVID-19 did not significantly shorten the time to clinical improvement and also not significantly lower mortality rates, compared to standard care alone

18 March 2020

In trials conducted on 200 patients in Wuhan and Shenzhen, Fujifilm’s (Tokyo, Japan) Avigan was shown to reduce pneumonia symptoms, while subjects who received the drug tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a shorter time

17 March 2020

16 March 2020

  • Sanofi (Paris, France) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NY, USA)  announce that they have initiated a clinical programme evaluating whether IL-6 inhibition with Kevzara (sarilumab) is better than current supportive care alone for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. A Phase II/III study wll be carried out in the USA, led by Regeneron, and will begin enrolling patients immediately
  • BioNTech (Germany) and Fosun Pharmaceutical (China) announce a strategic collaboration to advance BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine candidate BNT162 in China for the prevention of COVID-19 infections
  • CureVac (Tübingen, Germany) said that it “rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology” following reports that US President Donald Trump has sought exclusive access to the German drugmaker’s work on an mRNA-based vaccine against COVID-19

10 March 2020

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (WA, USA) state that it has launched a $125-million seed fund, along with partners Wellcome (London, UK) and Mastercard (NY, USA), to help find potential treatments for COVID-19.

6 March 2020

  • Analysts at RBC Capital Marketing give Gilead’s (CA, USA) remdesivir 50% chance of success as COVID-19 treatment
  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) put out a call on Friday for $2 billion in new funding to support the development of a vaccine for COVID-19

4 March 2020

  • Takeda (Tokyo, Japan) starts work on TAK-888, an anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG), to treat high-risk individuals with COVID-19
  • Arcturus Therapeutics (CA, USA) announces it’s collaboration with Duke-NUS Medical School (Singapore) to develop a COVID-19 vaccine based on the company’s STARR Technology, which could produce a vaccine response at much lower doses than traditional mRNA vaccines
  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (MA, USA) and Vir Biotechnology (CA, USA) announces their plan to expand their existing collaboration to include the development and commercialisation of RNAi therapeutics targeting SARS-CoV-2

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