On Saturday, biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer issued a five-point plan calling on the biopharmaceutical industry to join its efforts in committing to an unprecedented collaboration to combat COVID-19.
Dr. Albert Bourla, the chairman and CEO, said that Pfizer is committed to doing all it can to respond to the COVID-19. He said that many companies, including Pfizer, are working to develop antiviral therapies to help infected patients fight the virus and in creating new vaccines to prevent infection and halt the further spread of the disease.
“While 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,” said Bourla.
Pfizer laid out out a five-point plan to battle COVID-19 that will include bringing forward therapies and vaccines to protect people from the escalating pandemic and prepare the industry to be better prepared.
The plan includes:
- Develop cell-based assays, viral screening, serological assays, and translational models to test potential therapies and vaccines to the broader scientific community and to sharing the data.
- Marshaling people. Pfizer is creating a SWAT team of virologists, biologists, chemists, clinicians, epidemiologists, vaccine experts, pharmaceutical scientists and other key experts to focus solely on addressing this pandemic.
- Applying drug development expertise. Many smaller biotech companies are screening compounds or existing therapies for activity against the virus causing COVID-19, but some lack the experience in late-stage development and navigating the complex regulatory systems. Pfizer stressed that it is committed to sharing clinical development and regulatory expertise to support the most promising candidates these companies bring forward.
- Pfizer noted it will offer its manufacturing capabilities and, once a therapy or vaccine is approved, it will need to be rapidly scaled and deployed around the world to put an end to the pandemic.
- Improving future rapid response. Pfizer noted that it is reaching out to federal agencies including NIH, NIAID and CDC to build a cross-industry rapid response team of scientists, clinicians and technicians able will help deal with any breakouts.
Bourla said Pfizer will call on all members from large pharmaceutical companies to the smallest of biotech companies to commit to work together in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.