Pfizer Outlines Five-Point Plan for Combating COVID-19
Pfizer has issued a five-point plan for its collaboration with industry and government on R&D and manufacturing for vaccines and treatments against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“In this troubling time, Pfizer is committed to doing all we can to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pfizer’s Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, in a March 13, 2020 statement. Many companies, including Pfizer, are working to develop antiviral therapies to help infected patients fight this emerging virus as well as new vaccines to prevent infection and halt the further spread of this disease. Pfizer is working to advance our own potential antiviral therapies and is engaged with BioNTech on a potential mRNA coronavirus vaccine. We are committed to work as one team across the industry to harness our scientific expertise, technical skills and manufacturing capabilities to combat this evolving crisis.”
The company’s five-point plan is outlined below.
- Sharing tools and insights. Pfizer says it is committed to making the tools it develops available on an open-source platform to the broader scientific community and to sharing the data and learnings gained with other companies in real time to rapidly advance therapies and vaccines to patients.
- R&D Staff allocation to COVID. Pfizer has created a SWAT team of its virologists, biologists, chemists, clinicians, epidemiologists, vaccine experts, pharmaceutical scientists, and other key experts to focus solely on accelerating the discovery and development process that will deliver therapies and vaccines to patients as soon as possible.
- Applying drug-development expertise. Pfizer says it is committed to sharing its clinical development and regulatory expertise to support the most promising candidates that smaller biotech companies bring forward.
- Offering manufacturing capabilities. Pfizer says it is committed to using any excess manufacturing capacity and to potentially shifting production to support others in rapidly getting approved therapies and vaccines scaled and deployed worldwide.
- Improving future rapid response. Pfizer is reaching out to federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to build a cross-industry rapid response team of scientists, clinicians, and technicians able to move into action immediately when future epidemics surface.
In keeping with that plan, Pfizer and BioNTech, a Mainz, Germany-based immunotherapy company, have agreed to a letter of intent regarding the co-development and distribution (excluding China) of a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection. The companies have executed a material transfer and collaboration agreement to enable the parties to immediately start working together.
The collaboration aims to accelerate development of BioNTech’s potential first-in-class COVID-19 mRNA vaccine program, BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of April 2020. The collaboration builds on the research and development collaboration into which Pfizer and BioNTech entered in 2018 to develop mRNA-based vaccines for prevention of influenza.