As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, there are several companies racing to develop a vaccine.
The main motive might be to save lives, but remember that these companies are also business enterprises. This means that each company is striving to be the first to create a vaccine that can drastically increase sales. It is so because the whole world depends on such a vaccine to go back to normal, which will increase demand for the vaccine.
The company that produces a vaccine, after certifying its applicability and safety, other companies will rely on it for vaccine samples to recreate. Not only that, such a company will expand its market globally by making international shipments of the vaccine.
Think of the many advantages everyone will benefit from if a vaccine is found. At least a large percent of activities will go back to normal. It is crystal clear that the virus has negatively impacted the world, especially the economy. A lot of people have lost their jobs where companies have had to downsize the number of employees. Small companies that were otherwise using in-person advertisements are now creating their website to advertise and sell their products due to social distancing restrictions.
Besides working online, schooling is also done online where people attend lectures through zoom meetings, sit for exams, and graduate. Many changes took place when the virus first hit the world, and more changes are still taking place. Some people have adjusted to these changes, while others still find it challenging to adapt.
Although some countries have started to flatten the curve, with infection rates and deaths caused by the virus dropping, it will likely still be a significant issue globally for some time. The WHO says that there are around 35 vaccines currently in development. Below you can find some of the top biotech firms developing coronavirus vaccines.
Inovio Pharmaceutical Inc
Inovio Pharmaceutical Inc is developing a DNA plasmid vaccine. They are being funded by a number of agencies for developing INO-4800 and an intradermal vaccine delivery device. The firm is on track to begin mid-stage clinical testing by this summer. They want to make one million vaccines by the end of 2020.
Applied DNA Sciences Inc and Takis Biotech
This company is developing a linear DNA vaccine. Applied DNA Sciences has said that the results from the DNA testing for their vaccine are “beyond expectations.” They will be beginning dose-responsive trials and say they have begun discussions with third parties for distribution, compliance, and marketing.
Johnson & Johnson’s and Janssen Unit
The non-replicating viral vector in development by J&J is being developed quickly. As well as partnering with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, they have also joined with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The J&J CEO, Alex Gorsky, says that their vaccine could be ready for testing in September.
Altimmune is also developing a non-replicating viral vector vaccine. They aim to produce an intranasal vaccine and will be running preclinical trials of their product, AdCOVID, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Their goal is to begin phase I human trials in Q3 2020.
The nanoparticle vaccine in development by Novavax is set to begin human clinical trials this month. They have been awarded funding from CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), receiving the largest amount even given at $384 million. Their phase I research begins in Australia in May, before moving to phase II in multiple countries.
The Moderna Inc COVID vaccine candidate has been fast-tracked by the FDA. They are currently awaiting the results from their first phase study and are preparing for their second and third phase clinical trials. The Phase II study will look at the safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of the mRNA vaccine.
Vaxart Inc is developing an oral vaccine, for which they recently announced positive preclinical data. They began preclinical studies early, in January, based on their existing oral vaccines platform. The company has entered a development agreement with Emergent Biosolutions Inc to prepare for cGMP production of an oral COVID-19 vaccine.
BioNTech is working together with Pfizer to develop an mRNA vaccine. They are carrying out a global Phase I/II clinical trial that has been initiated in Germany and is beginning in the U.S. Both companies are making use of their facilities to manufacture and supply the vaccine.
Each of these biotech companies should be watched closely to observe the progress of their vaccine development.