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June 12, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – AstraZeneca signs a deal with Emergent Biosciences to support vaccine development – PeptiDream and Merck to partner on developing peptide drugs for Covid-19

By Allie Nawrat

Emergent BioSolutions has agreed to support the manufacturing of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, in the US. As part of the agreement worth about $87m, Emergent will offer development services, technology transfer, analytical testing, drug substance process and performance qualification. The company will also reserve some large-scale manufacturing capacity through 2020.

Japanese biopharmaceutical firm PeptiDream has collaborated with Merck to discover and develop new peptide therapeutics that could neutralise SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The aim is to develop therapies that could also be effective against any future coronavirus outbreaks.

Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech has partnered with Brazil-based Instituto Butantan to advance its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac, into Phase III clinical trials. Under a clinical development collaboration agreement, Instituto Butantan agreed to sponsor the Phase III trials that are expected to involve 9,000 volunteers in Brazil.

Spanish company Grifols has started production of its anti-Covid-19 hyperimmune immunoglobulin as a potential passive immune therapy. The hyperimmune immunoglobulin, said to be the first specific drug developed to treat Covid-19, is made of specific antibodies obtained using the plasma of patients who have recovered from the disease. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune immunoglobulins are being produced at Grifols’ Clayton facility in US, with first doses expected to be available next month as part of a clinical trial.

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