Coronavirus company news summary – Valneva signs a manufacturing agreement with UK – Taiwan to seek supplies of dexamethasone

5 August 2020 (Last Updated August 5th, 2020 09:05)

5 August 2020 

The UK Government and biotech company Valneva are set to make a joint investment in a manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian as part of an agreement for early access to 60 million doses of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The investment will boost manufacturing capacity at Valneva’s Livingston site, which could deliver up to 100 million vaccine doses to the UK and internationally. This deal follows a manufacturing agreement between the UK and pharmaceutical company Wockhardt.

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general have urged the US Government on Tuesday to use their legal authority to boost the availability and affordability of Gilead Sciences’ Covid-19 treatment remdesivir. In a letter, the group called on the country’s health agencies to ensure sufficient supply of the drug at a reasonable price. Gilead has set the price of the drug at $3,200 per treatment course.

Novavax has reported positive Phase I results from the Phase I/II clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate performed in healthy participants aged 18-59 years. Data showed that the adjuvanted vaccine was generally well-tolerated and was able to trigger antibody responses numerically superior to that found in human convalescent sera.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a Phase III clinical trial, named ACTIV-3, to evaluate various types of monoclonal antibodies as potential treatments for Covid-19. The trial, which has an adaptive two-stage design, will be conducted at select hospitals globally. It can be modified to assess additional investigational therapeutics, noted NIH.

Taiwan has granted provisional authorisation to steroid drug dexamethasone as a treatment for Covid-19. The decision comes as the country faces a shortfall of the antiviral drug remdesivir, according to Reuters. Taiwan had ordered for 2,000 doses of remdesivir to arrive by the end of July, but currently only has 78 doses in stock, which were enough to treat 54 seriously-ill patients.

India-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has launched favipiravir drug under the brand name FluGuard for the treatment of coronavirus infection. Favipiravir holds approval in India to potentially treat patients with mild to moderate Covid-19. The company will collaborate with the government and medical community to make the drug available to patients across the country.