Coronavirus company news summary – Merck is set to launch vaccine trials – Sanofi, GSK sign supply deals with EC, while Pfizer, BioNTech to supply 120 million doses to Japan

3 August 2020 (Last Updated August 3rd, 2020 08:52)

3 August 2020

Pfizer and BioNTech have entered into an agreement with Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) to provide 120 million doses of their BNT162 Covid-19 vaccine candidate. While financial details of the deal were not divulged, the terms were said to be based on the delivery timing and the volume of doses. Deliveries are planned for the first half of next year.

NeuroRx and Relief Therapeutics have found that RLF-100 (aviptadil) led to rapid recovery from respiratory failure in patients critically ill with Covid-19. The first report of rapid clinical recovery involved a 54-year-old man who contracted Covid-19 while on treatment for rejection of a double lung transplant; he came off a ventilator within four days of treatment with RLF-100. Similar results were subsequently reported in more than 15 patients treated under emergency use.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are in advanced talks with the European Commission (EC) to supply up to 300 million doses of potential Covid-19 vaccine. The doses are set to be produced in European countries, including France, Belgium, Germany and Italy. Sanofi and GSK also agreed to supply at least 100 million doses to the US and up to 60 million doses to the UK.

The Serum Institute of India has received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct Phase II and III clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca. The vaccine is currently undergoing Phase II and III studies in the UK, Phase III study in Brazil, and Phase I and II studies in South Africa.

Merck has plans to begin clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which was obtained as part of the company’s acquisition of Themis, in the third quarter of this year. In its second quarter financial results, Merck added that another SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate being developed in alliance with IAVI is set to enter human studies this year.