Amgen, Gilead, Sanofi are the best known of the dozens of companies currently working on a treatment or vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (Covid-19).
The majority of these companies have benefited from a sometimes significant increase – up to 330% for Novavax (NVAX) – in their share price on the stock market, considering the size of the potential market and the urgency of distributing an effective product.
Sanofi (SAN)’s Lyon-based laboratory is currently studying two vaccine projects, one based on recombinant proteins and the other on messenger RNA (mRNA). In collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), Sanofi is also testing a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis against severe infection with Covid-19 and hydroxychloroquine, the merits of which are being studied by Professor Didier Raoult at the IHU in Marseille.
Gilead Sciences (GLD) reports that its experimental antiviral Remdesivir slowed the progression of the virus in monkeys by adding undesirable mutations to Covid-19 that could destroy it. On April 10, 2020, 68% of 53 hospitalized patients with severe complications showed signs of clinical improvement without major contraindications while receiving Remdesivir.
Amgen (AMGN) and Adaptive Biotechnologies (ADPT) are working together to establish a platform to discover therapeutic antibodies from patients cured of Covid-19, while Moderna Therapeutics (MRNA) has received $483 million in US federal funding to accelerate the development of the mRNA vaccine with the creation of 150 additional positions.
In addition to donating 130 million doses of hydroxychloroquine via Sandoz, Novartis (NOVN) is contributing $20 million to a Response Fund to support clinical trials of its existing medicines and is participating in the public-private partnership Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) launched by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Many other companies are also working to find a solution to Covid-19 including Abbvie (ABBV), AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY), Evotec (EVT), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), KSQ Therapeutics, Eli Lilly & Company (LLY), Merck & Co. (MRK), Pfizer (PFE), Roche (RO), Takeda (TAK) and Vir Biotechnology (VIR).
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