Company coronavirus news summary – Clinical trials of favipiravir to begin in India – UC San Diego to study hypertension drug for Covid-19 – Gilead and Pfizer to boost manufacturing

Allie Nawrat 1 May 2020 (Last Updated May 1st, 2020 09:22)

1 May 2020

Following positive results from a NIAID-led trial of remdesivir, Gilead Sciences is expanding the production of its investigational drug for Covid-19. The company aims to manufacture more than 140,000 treatment courses of remdesivir by the end of this month, which will rise to more than one million treatment courses by the end of the year.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to evaluate antivirial drug favipiravir in clinical trials to treat patients with Covid-19. Favipiravir is a generic version of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical's influenza drug Avigan. Glenmark developed the drug's API and formulations internally.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals has entered a manufacturing alliance with German contract manufacturer Richter-Helm BioLogics for large-scale production of its DNA vaccine candidate, INO-4800, against Covid-19. The deal is partly supported by an initial grant of $1.3m from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Researchers from University of California San Diego School of Medicine have initiated a clinical trial to study hypertension drug Ramipril as a potential Covid-19 treatment. Ramipril, an ACE inhibitor, will be evaluated in up to 560 patients with Covid-19 symptoms at emergency departments or hospitalised due to the infection.

Pfizer has plans to rapidly boost manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine candidate to approximately ten to 20 million doses by the end of this year for emergency use, if it demonstrates safety and efficacy in the coming months, reported Reuters. Being developed in alliance with BioNtech, the vaccine candidate is currently in a clinical trial in Germany and a study in the US is expected to begin soon.