Novartis and a consortium of life sciences companies have collaborated with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to advance the development, manufacture and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19, the disease resulted due to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, Eli Lilly, Gilead, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, BD and bioMérieux are part of the consortium.
The firms are working to detect better actions to advance treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics to the field, following a conference call with Gates Foundation leadership earlier this month.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said: “We look to harness that knowledge and experience, combine it where possible, to connect with national regulators and the World Health Organization to see if we can help flatten the curve of this pandemic and make sure the results reach everyone around the world, particularly those at highest risk and the poorest.”
The companies have committed a range of assets, resources, and expertise required to detect efficient and scalable solutions to the, which is affecting millions across the globe.
As part of the collaboration, the 15 companies have agreed to share their libraries of molecular compounds that already show some degree of safety and activity data with the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.
The accelerator has been launched by the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to rapidly screen compounds for potential against COVID-19. If successful, the compounds will be evaluated in vivo trials within two months.
The studies of existing drugs, diagnostic tests, compounds, and investigational vaccines have started across the world for the detection of interventions to sluggish or terminate the pandemic.
According to Novartis, the products that show efficacy will need clinical study, scale-up of manufacturing, and supply if proven effective.
In a statement, as co-chair of a consortium of life science companies headquartered across three continents Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said: “We feel a deep shared responsibility to see if there are specific areas where collaboration across the life sciences industry and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can accelerate solutions to this pandemic.”
In November 2019, Novartis agreed to acquire The Medicines Company for about $9.7bn to add inclisiran, an investigational cholesterol-lowering drug, to its cardiovascular portfolio.