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COVID-19 Pharma Industry Update from GlobalData

Updated: Jun 30, 2020


30 June


The world of clinical trials is adapting to the "new normal" and companies are bringing trials out of lock down. We're therefore going to stop the daily posts. We'd like to say a huge thank you to our good friends at Global Data for providing such comprehensive information on a daily basis.


Good luck, and stay safe.


23 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 840 (+10 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 69.3% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,314 clinical trials globally (+25 from last update)

  • 436 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+1 from last update); 29 have been withdrawn, suspended, or terminated (+2 from last update)

  • 30 clinical trials with remdesivir (+4 from last update)

  • 668 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (-1 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 187 strategic partnerships (+2 from last update)

  • 63 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 28 financing (+1 from last update)

Therapeutic Update Yesterday, Gilead’s CEO Daniel O’Day announced in an open letter to start clinical studies of an inhaled version of remdesivir. After receiving FDA approval, healthy volunteers will be recruited for a Phase I trial set to start in August to investigate remdesivir in earlier stages of COVID-19. Gilead’s antiviral is currently given intravenously, restricting the use to hospital settings. Trials from the company and the NIH showed that remdesivir can reduce the time to clinical recovery significantly from 15 days in the control group to 11 days in the treatment group, and has a less pronounced effect on reducing mortality. O’Day further pointed out that remdesivir is and will be tested in combination with other drugs, for example immune modulators such as baricitinib (Olumiant) and tocilizumab (Actemra). Additionally, Gilead expects to produce more than two million treatment courses by the end of the year and several million doses next year. Ridgeback Therapeutics, which partnered up with Merck in late May, announced the start of two Phase II trials to test its antiviral EIDD-2801 in newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients. In the Phase II studies, the oral ribonucleoside analog will be taken at home or in hospital settings to see if an early treatment can be effective in eliminating the virus; for that purpose Ridgeback already produced hundred thousands of doses. According to the company, a Phase I trial deemed the antiviral as safe in humans, but data has not been published, yet. A preliminary report on the effect of dexamethasone in hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been published on medRxiv, adding more detailed information to last week’s announcement. A total of 2,104 patients received 6mg daily of the corticosteroid dexamethasone for up to ten days and were compared to 4,321 patients in a control group in the randomized trial. Dexamethasone treatment was able to reduce mortality after 28 days by one-third in patients on invasive mechanical ventilation (29.0% vs. 40.7%), by one-fifth in patients receiving oxygen without invasive mechanical ventilation (21.5% vs. 25.0%), but did show effects in patients that did not receive respiratory support in comparison to the control group (17.0% vs. 13.2%).

Vaccines Update Sanofi’s recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate will be ready for clinical trials in September instead of December, according to the company. The vaccine will be based on the same technology used for Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccine Flublok with the addition of GSK’s pandemic adjuvant. Furthermore, Sanofi is expanding its partnership and licensing agreement with Translate Bio, which is developing a mRNA vaccine for COVID-19. The Massachusetts-based company will receive $425M from Sanofi and further payments up to $1.9B for the development and potential global roll-out of vaccines based on Translate Bio’s mRNA platform. Clinical trials for the mRNA vaccine candidate are set to start in Q4 2020. Drug maker Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products is the next Chinese company to start clinical studies of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Co-developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the vaccine candidate received regulatory approval from Chinese authorities to start Phase I trials.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,210 disrupted clinical trials (-6 from last update)

  • 972 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (-1 from last update)

  • 578 companies are impacted (unchanged from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,308 drugs involved (-7 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.3% and 17.9%, respectively

  • 30.6% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 312 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+11 from last update



22 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 830 (+18 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,289 clinical trials globally (+39 from last update)

  • 435 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+9 from last update); 27 have been withdrawn, suspended, or terminated

  • 26 clinical trials with remdesivir (+3 from last update)

  • 669 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+8 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 185 strategic partnerships (unchanged from last update)

  • 63 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update The NIH stopped its hydroxychloroquine ORCHID study that was investigating the safety and effectiveness of the antimalarial drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The data and safety monitoring board decided a benefit will be unlikely after reviewing data from 470 patients of the placebo-controlled trial that started in April. Also Novartis stopped its hydroxychloroquine study that had the goal to enroll 440 participants, but faced problems recruiting enough participants. Over the past weeks, multiple larger studies showed no benefit of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19 patients, with or without antibiotics, the WHO discontinued clinical trials with the drug, and the FDA revoked its Emergency Use Authorization for the use in COVID-19 patients. In India, Hetero Labs and Cipla received regulatory approval for the manufacturing of a generic version of Gilead’s remdesivir. The antiviral will be marketed under the brand name Covifor by Hetero and Cipremi by Cipla, and will be priced at $66-$79 for a 100mg dose, resulting in a cost of $330-$395 for a 5-day treatment course. An earlier clinical trial from Gilead showed a 5-day treatment course to be as effective as a 10-day treatment course. Gilead licensed remdesivir to several generic drug makers in India and Pakistan for the manufacturing and distribution in 127 low-and middle income countries in early May.

Vaccines Update After CanSino, Sinopharm, and Sinovac, another Chinese developer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate will enter Phase II studies. The inactivated vaccine developed by the Institute of Medical Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS) has an ongoing Phase I trial with 200 participants, and the Phase II study has the goal of determining the optimal dose and observing antibody responses.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,216 disrupted clinical trials (+4 from last update)

  • 973 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+6 from last update)

  • 578 companies are impacted (+5 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,315 drugs involved (+7 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.4% and 17.8%, respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 301 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+5 from last update)



19 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 812 (unchanged from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.3% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,250 clinical trials globally (+2 from last update)

  • 426 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (unchanged from last update)

  • 23 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 661 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+7 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 185 strategic partnerships (unchanged from last update)

  • 63 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update Humanigen, a biotech company based in California, published positive COVID-19 data from their antibody lenzilumab on the preprint server medRxiv. The drug is in development to treat several types of lymphoma. In 12 patients with severe and critical COVID-19 pneumonia, 11 showed clinical improvement after treatment with lenzilumab with a median discharge time of five days. The improvement is thought to be associated with the drug's neutralization of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factors that correlate with the body's strong immune response, but larger and randomized trials have to confirm the positive results.

Vaccines Update Clover Biopharmaceuticals is the next Chinese company to start clinical studies of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Phase I study will enroll 150 adult and elderly subjects in Australia to test the company’s candidate SCB-2019, a recombinant protein vaccine based on the trimer-tag technology. The vaccine will utilize either an adjuvant from GSK or Dynavax, both versions will be tested in the trial. A Phase II/III study is planned to start later in 2020.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,212 disrupted clinical trials (-22 from last update)

  • 967 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (-3 from last update)

  • 573 companies are impacted (unchanged from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,308 drugs involved (-6 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.2% and 17.8%, respectively

  • 30.7% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 296 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+23 from last update)



18 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 812 (+12 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.3% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,248 clinical trials globally (+28 from last update)

  • 426 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+4 from last update)

  • 23 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 654 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+3 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 185 strategic partnerships (+1 from last update)

  • 63 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update The WHO decided to stop investigating hydroxychloroquine in its Solidarity trial after reviewing available data for the anti-malarial drug, showing no benefits as compared to standard treatment. The Solidarity study started out with four treatment options for COVID-19 at the end of March and will continue investigating remdesivir, the HIV drug combo lopinavir/ritonavir, and the multiple sclerosis treatment interferon-1a. After dropping the Emergency Use Authorization of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, the FDA now warns against potential drug interactions between the antimalarial and Gilead’s remdesivir. Non-clinical studies in human cell culture showed that chloroquine potentially reduces the antiviral activity of remdesivir. Gilead meanwhile is planning to start a Phase II/III clinical study testing its antiviral remdesivir in pediatric patients with severe COVD19. Although children are less affected by COVID-19, younger patients with underlying health conditions are at risk. A total of 50 pediatric patients will be enrolled at trial sites in the US and Europe. Roche’s rheumatoid arthritis IL-6 inhibitor Actemra (tocilizumab) showed disappointing results in an Italian study in patients with early-stage COVID-19 pneumonia. The trial with 126 participants was stopped early, as Actemra was not able to reduce severe respiratory symptoms, intensive care visits, or deaths, as compared to standard treatment. Also Sanofi/Regeneron’s IL-6 inhibitor Kevzara (sarilumab) showed no benefits in severe COVID-19 patients in April, but studies are continuing in critical COVID-19 patients.

Vaccines Update The European Union is in negotiations with Johnson & Johnson for the advance purchase of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The deal will be covered by the emergency fund the EU set aside to supply COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens, and will likely include candidates developed by other companies. AstraZeneca signed a deal with Cobra Biologics for the manufacturing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The company has manufacturing facilities in the UK, Sweden, and the US, where it will produce the adenovirus vector-based vaccine developed by Oxford University.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,234 disrupted clinical trials (-13 from last update)

  • 970 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (-16 from last update)

  • 573 companies are impacted (-7 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,314 drugs involved (-24 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.3% and 17.9%, respectively

  • 30.6% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 273 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+15 from last update)


17 June 2020

The eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the pharmaceutical industry into action, with a race to develop both preventive and therapeutic interventions. The pipeline is crowded with clinical investigations of novel and existing drugs growing exponentially. Gilead's remdesivir is the new standard of care in the US and has Emergency Use Authorization in the US and in South Korea. The drug is also approved in Japan and India for treatment in hospitalized patients and received conditional approval in Singapore on June 10 for COVID-19 patients with oxygen saturation less than or equal to 94% and those that require supplemental oxygen or intensive breathing support, including invasive mechanical ventilation. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also recently announced that the organization was reviewing remdesivir’s application for conditional authorization in the EU. Pipeline Drugs

  • 800 (+5 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.1% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,220 clinical trials globally (+16 from last update)

  • 422 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (unchanged from last update)

  • 23 clinical trials with remdesivir (+1 from last update)

  • 651 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+7 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 184 strategic partnerships (unchanged from last update)

  • 63 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update Following the positive, preliminary results from the dexamethasone study announced yesterday, the United Kingdom approved the use of the corticosteroid in severe COVID-19 patients. Dexamethasone was shown to reduce mortality by 35% in hospitalized COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation, and by 20% in patients on supplemental oxygen support. The UK government also wants to make sure the drug will be available by increasing its stock and by restricting its export. With Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Gilead is adding another company to the list of drug makers that receive a license for the manufacturing and production of its antiviral remdesivir in low-and middle income countries, including India. Remdesivir has Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the US and South Korea, and is approved for the use in severe COVID-19 patients in Japan, India, and Singapore. Regeneron received $85M in funding from BARDA for the development of its antibody cocktail for COVID-19. The US agency previously supported Regeneron’s Ebola antibody treatment development, with Regeneron starting clinical trials of its antibody cocktail for COVID-19 last week.

Vaccines Update Operation Warp Speed’s final list will include two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates, in addition to the five already chosen. The US government’s initiative to fund the development and production of up to 300 million vaccine doses until early next year shortlisted AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, and Pfizer’s candidates earlier this month. Trump administration officials furthermore promised to make successful COVID-19 vaccines available for free to people who cannot afford it, and said health insurance providers are considering to provide the vaccine for free to its subscribers. When a vaccine becomes available, it would be provided first to the high-risk population and frontline healthcare workers, they added. Sinopharm Group announced preliminary results from a Phase I/II study of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate its subsidiary Wuhan Institute of Biological Products is developing. A total of 1,120 participants were enrolled and received two shots of one of three different vaccine doses, given at three different intervals, or a placebo. A seroconversion rate of 97.6% was reported for the 14- and 21-day interval, and 100% for the 28-day interval for the middle dose. These are promising results, however, it is unclear, yet, if neutralizing antibodies are sufficient to both protect severe COVID-19 infections and prevent further spread of the virus. German biotech CureVac will start Phase I clinical trials with 168 patients for its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate, after receiving approval from German and Belgian authorities. This news comes two days after the German government announced to support the vaccine development effort with $300M and receiving a considerable stake in the company.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,247 disrupted clinical trials (-5 from last update)

  • 986 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (-5 from last update)

  • 580 companies are impacted (-4 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,338 drugs involved (-6 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.4% and 17.8% respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 258 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+9 from last update)




16 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 795 (+9 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.3% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,204 clinical trials globally (+13 from last update)

  • 422 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (unchanged from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 644 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+9 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 184 strategic partnerships (+1 from last update)

  • 63 Licensing agreements (+2 from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update Preliminary results from the UK-led RECOVERY clinical study showed that the corticosteroid dexamethasone reduces 28-day mortality in severe hospitalized COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation by 35% and in patients receiving oxygen support by 20%. No benefit of dexamethasone treatment was observed in COVID-19 patients who did not require respiratory support. In the randomized study, 2,014 participants who received a low dose of 6mg dexamethasone once daily were compared with 4,321 patients on standard care. The RECOVERY study investigates several marketed drugs for the treatment of COVID-19, such as antivirals, immune modulators, and also could not show a benefit from the use of hydroxychloroquine treatment in COVID-19 patients two weeks ago. These results are very promising for severe COVID-19 patients on oxygen support; however, the complete data are not yet available and not published, so these results should be approached keeping this in mind.

Vaccines Update AstraZeneca reached a deal with the drug and drug delivery technology provider Catalent for vial filling and packaging of “hundreds of millions of doses” of AstraZeneca/Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222 in Catalent’s manufacturing facility in Anagni, Italy, from August 2020 through early 2020. AstraZeneca made several deals with EU member states, the US, the UK, CEPI, and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for up to one billion doses in total, and furthermore licensed its vaccine to the Serum Institute of India for the production and distribution of one billion doses in low-and middle-income countries. Sanofi is preparing for the production of its two COVID-19 vaccine candidates by investing $680M in a vaccine production facility and a new vaccine research center in France. Sanofi has two COVID-19 vaccines in preclinical development: a recombinant vaccine based on technology that is utilized in producing the seasonal influenza vaccine Flublok which will use GSK’s adjuvant system, and an mRNA vaccine candidate that is being developed in collaboration with Massachusetts-based biotech TranslateBio. The self-amplifying mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed at the Imperial College London is entering Phase I trials this week. The vaccine's development is being funded with $56M from the UK government, and Phase I will include 300 participants who will receive two doses of the vaccine. If successful, the vaccine will be produced by the newly founded company VacEquity Global Health in partnership with Morningside Ventures, an investment company from Hong Kong, and will be available at a low-cost for low-and middle-income countries.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,252 disrupted clinical trials (+6 from last update)

  • 991 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+2 from last update)

  • 584 companies are impacted (+2 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,344 drugs involved (+5 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.5% and 17.8% respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

249 clinical trials resumed after disruption (unchanged from last update)


15 June


The eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the pharmaceutical industry into action, with a race to develop both preventive and therapeutic interventions. No options are currently available in either category but the pipeline is crowded with clinical investigations of novel and existing drugs growing exponentially. Gilead's remdesivir is the new standard of care in the US and has Emergency Use Authorization in the US and in South Korea. The drug is also approved in Japan and India for treatment in hospitalized patients and received conditional approval in Singapore on June 10 for COVID-19 patients with oxygen saturation less than or equal to 94% and those that require supplemental oxygen or intensive breathing support, including invasive mechanical ventilation. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also recently announced that the organization was reviewing remdesivir’s application for conditional authorization in the EU. Pipeline Drugs

  • 786 (+9 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.1% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,191 clinical trials globally (+22 from last update)

  • 422 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+4 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 635 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+7 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 183 strategic partnerships (+2 from last update)

  • 61 Licensing agreements (+4 from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update The FDA has withdrawn the Emergency Use Authorization for the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The agency said it “determined that CQ and HCQ are unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA”, especially considering various serious adverse effects, such as cardiovascular problems, that have been reported in recent studies. Accumulating evidence from studies using chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine with or without antibiotics showed no benefits compared to placebo-control groups, but in addition to serious adverse effects also an increase in mortality. However, it has to be seen if this will bring an end to the discussion around the antimalarial drug, especially given that there are more than 350 ongoing and planned clinical studies testing the drug for the treatment of COVID-19. Today, Eli Lilly announced the start of a Phase III clinical trial to test its JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor baricitinib in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Baricitinib, marketed as Olumiant for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, may reduce the human body’s immune system overreaction in response to the viral infection. The placebo-controlled study with 400 COVID-19 patients will assess baricitinib’s effect on improving oxygen support. Other rheumatoid arthritis drugs that suppress the immune system are already in clinical trials, such as Roche’s Actrema (tocilizumab) and Regeneron/Sanofi’s Kevzara (sarilumab). Baricitinib was identified as a potential treatment for COVID-19 with both anti-viral and anti-cytokine properties using BenevolentAI’s proprietary AI drug discovery and development platform.

Vaccines Update Preliminary data from Chinese biotech Sinovac, published on Saturday, showed promising results from the Phase I/II of its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate CoronaVac. A total of 743 healthy subjects have been enrolled in the randomized, placebo-controlled study, of which 143 are in Phase I and 600 in Phase II. The vaccine induced neutralizing antibodies 14 days after vaccination with a seroconversion rate of 90%, and no severe adverse events have been reported. Sinovac is preparing to submit a Phase III study protocol to Chinese authorities in the coming weeks and start clinical trials in Brazil in collaboration with the Instituto Butantan. The public institute Butantan is one of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in Latin America. AstraZeneca entered another deal for the production of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222, developed by Oxford University, this time with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA) for the supply of 400 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020. The Alliance, led by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, was formed to speed up the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines in Europe and as a response to vaccine efforts in the US and China. AstraZeneca previously entered deals with the US, the UK, CEPI, and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and licensed its vaccine to the Serum Institute of India. German biotech CureVac is receiving up to $300M from the German Ministry of Economy and Energy for the development of its mRNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19. This deal is part of Germany’s effort to gain more independence in drug manufacturing. CureVac is planning to start Phase I/II clinical trials for its mRNA vaccine candidate by the end of June.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,246 disrupted clinical trials (unchanged from last update)

  • 989 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+10 from last update)

  • 582 companies are impacted (+5 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,339 drugs involved (-3 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.6% and 17.9% respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 249 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+6 from last update)


12 June


The eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the pharmaceutical industry into action, with a race to develop both preventive and therapeutic interventions. No options are currently available in either category but the pipeline is crowded with clinical investigations of novel and existing drugs growing exponentially. Gilead’s remdesivir is the new standard of care in the US and has Emergency Use Authorization in the US and in South Korea. The drug is also approved in Japan and India for treatment in hospitalized patients and received conditional approval in Singapore on June 10 for COVID-19 patients with oxygen saturation less than or equal to 94% and those that require supplemental oxygen or intensive breathing support, including invasive mechanical ventilation. Pipeline Drugs

  • 777 (+12 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.4% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,169 clinical trials globally (+34 from last update)

  • 418 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+2 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 628 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+8 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 181 strategic partnerships (+1 from last update)

  • 57 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 27 financing (+1 from last update)

Therapeutic Update Regeneron announced yesterday the start of clinical trials for its dual antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 for COVID-19. By studying four groups of subjects - hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, as well as uninfected people in different high-exposure settings - the antibody’s ability as a therapeutic and prophylactic for COVID-19 infections will be tested. The antibodies are being developed using the proprietary VelociSuite technology that has been used successfully in developing an antibody cocktail for the treatment of Ebola, currently awaiting FDA approval. Eli Lilly and its partners AbCellera and Junshi Biosciences brought antibodies to the clinic earlier this month; other prominent companies with neutralizing antibodies in development for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 include Amgen, AstraZeneca, AbbVie, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Vaccines Update With more than 120 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development and 10 in clinical studies, the logistics of producing hundreds of millions to billions of doses of a vaccine is daunting. Not only raw material for the vaccine is needed, but also manufacturing sites, including production and testing equipment, have to be scaled up accordingly. Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel and Merck’s vaccine president John Markels said during the BIO conference, they are worried about both the supply chain and hiring enough qualified people to help in the effort to scale up the production of so many vaccine doses. In order to prepare for the manufacturing and distribution of a successful COVID-19 vaccine, the US national stockpile is planning to store 400 million syringes and needles by December and up to 700 million by early next year. Not only drugs and drug precursors have been in shortage during the ongoing pandemic, but also personal protective equipment and material for testing kits. Now, also soda bottle manufacturers who usually work with Coca-Cola have stepped up to produce test tubes that are used in COVID-19 testing kits. Sinopharm Group, one of the five developers of COVID-19 vaccines in China, published positive results from animal studies of its inactivated vaccine candidate BBIBP-CorV in ‘Cell’. Two 2μg doses of the vaccine candidate induced high levels of neutralizing antibody titers in mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and nonhuman primates. BBIBP-CorV is already in Phase I/II clinical trials in China. Other companies developing COVID-19 vaccines in China include CanSino with their adenovirus vector-based vaccine in Phase II, and Sinovac with another inactivated vaccine candidate. Contract drug manufacturer and vaccine developer Emergent BioSolutions agreed on an $85M deal with AstraZeneca for the US supply of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine candidate AZD122. Earlier this month, Emergent signed a $628M deal with BARDA for the production of up to several hundred million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the US, and AstraZeneca made deals with CEPI, Gavi, and the Serum Institute for large-scale distribution and production of its vaccine candidate. Yesterday, Moderna published data from an animal study of their COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 on the non-peer reviewed preprint server BioRxiv. They showed that "mRNA-1273 induces both potent neutralizing antibody and CD8 T cell responses and protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection in lungs and noses of mice without evidence of immunopathology". Moderna's vaccine candidate is currently in Phase II. After FDA review, the Phase III study protocol is finalized with the goal to test the 100μg dose of mRNA-1273 in 30,000 participants starting in July.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,246 disrupted clinical trials (-6 from last update)

  • 979 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+1 from last update)

  • 577 companies are impacted (+3 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,342 drugs involved (-10 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 29.8% and 17.7% respectively

  • 30.3% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 243 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+21 from last update)


11 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 765 (+7 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,135 clinical trials globally (+7 from last update)

  • 416 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+2 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 620 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+5 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 180 strategic partnerships (+4 from last update)

  • 57 Licensing agreements (+4 from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Vaccines Update Johnson & Johnson announced yesterday to start Phase I/II clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the second half of July, two months earlier than initially planned. Promising results in preclinical studies and accelerated regulatory decisions led to the faster timeline. Ad26.COV2-S, recombinant is developed by J&J's pharmaceutical arm Janssen and utilizes the proprietary AdVac adenovirus vector and the PER.C6 cell line. For the randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled Phase I/II studies, 1,045 healthy adults in the US and Belgium will be enrolled. According to NIH officials talking to the Wall Street Journal, the NIH is planning large Phase III studies with COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson in the coming months. Moderna's mRNA-based vaccine is currently in Phase II, and Phase III is on track to start in July. AstraZeneca/Oxford University's adenovirus vector-based vaccine AZD1222 is in Phase II as well, and Phase III studies are planned for August. With J&J's vaccine entering Phase I/II only in July, it has to be seen if the Phase III September timeline is feasible.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,252 disrupted clinical trials (-1 from last update)

  • 978 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (unchanged from last update)

  • 574 companies are impacted (unchanged from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,352 drugs involved (-1 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 30% and 17.7% respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 222 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+1 from last update)



10 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 758 (+6 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 69.8% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,128 clinical trials globally (+28 from last update)

  • 414 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+4 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 615 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+5 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 176 strategic partnerships (+2 from last update)

  • 53 Licensing agreements (+1 from last update)

  • 9 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update With AstraZeneca, another big pharma company entered the development of antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19. The company licensed six coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and will bring two of them as a cocktail into clinical trials by August. AstraZeneca signed agreements with the US agencies DARPA and BARDA to support a Phase I trial and for manufacturing of the antibodies for the clinical studies.

Vaccines Update Although COVID-19 vaccines are early in development, discussions about pricing have already started. Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla said yesterday in an interview, the mRNA vaccine his company is developing in collaboration with BioNTech won't have a "huge price" and the company won't take advantage of the situation. Similar comments were made by Moderna officials, while AstraZeneca made deals with CEPI and the Vaccine Alliance Gavi to ensure equitable access to vaccines in low-and middle-income countries.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,253 disrupted clinical trials (-10 from last update)

  • 978 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+2 from last update)

  • 574 companies are impacted (unchanged from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,353 drugs involved (-12 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 30.1% and 17.6% respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 221 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+17 from last update)


9 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 752 (+5 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 69.8% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,100 clinical trials globally (+22 from last update)

  • 410 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+4 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 610 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+5 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 174 strategic partnerships (+3 from last update)

  • 52 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 9 M&A (+1 from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update Antibody therapy development to treat COVID-19 is picking up pace. After Eli Lilly and AbCellara brought the first antibody into the clinic last week, now Chinese biotech Junshi Biosciences started to test its antibody JS016 in clinical trials in China. Junshi will collaborate with Eli Lilly to start clinical trials in the US this month. Furthermore, Eli Lilly plans to test both antibodies together in a cocktail in COVID-19 patients. Also AbbVie entered antibody development for COVID-19 by collaborating with Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, and the Dutch-Chinese company Harbour Biomed. Their neutralizing antibody 47D11 is still in pre-clinical studies, as are antibodies developed by Vir Biotechnology and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The latter two companies recently emphasized that manufacturing capacity has to be scaled up to meet the demand for antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19. Gilead donated 1.5 million doses of its antiviral remdesivir earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, of which the US government received 940,000 doses. These doses will be used up by the end of the month, and it is unclear, yet, when Gilead can provide new supply. The company plans to have 500,000 doses by October and 1 million by December. Furthermore, it is still unclear how much Gilead will charge for a course of remdesivir treatment. The US Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) estimated a price of $4,460 per treatment course to be appropriate during the ongoing pandemic.

Vaccines Update While clinical study data from COVID-19 trials is scarce, several players are beginning to increase manufacturing capacities for the production of successful vaccines. AstraZeneca and Oxford University recruited Oxford Biomedica to produce their vaccine candidate in a 5-year contract. Oxford Biomedica produces gene and cell therapies treatment, but will also be able to produce the adenovirus vector-based Oxford University vaccine. Also production of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is being prepared to be scaled up, as BARDA updated the contract with Moderna to include additional manufacturing sites. Moderna is also collaborating with Lonza for the production of up to one billion vaccine doses at sites in the US and Switzerland.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,263 clinical trials (+2 from last update)

  • 976 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (-1 from last update)

  • 574 companies are impacted (-1 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,365 drugs involved (+2 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 30.2% and 17.5% respectively

  • 30.6% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 204 clinical trials resumed after disruption (unchanged from last update)


8 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 747 (+4 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,078 clinical trials globally (+20 from last update)

  • 406 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+3 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 605 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+4 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 171 strategic partnerships (+2 from last update)

  • 52 Licensing agreements (+2 from last update)

  • 8 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update Yet another hydroxychloroquine study showed no benefits of using the anti-malarial drug to treat COVID-19. The RECOVERY study (Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy), run by the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in the UK, enrolled 11,000 patients from 175 NHS hospitals to test possible treatment options for COVID-19, among them hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs lopinavir-ritonavir, and IL-6 inhibitor tocilizumab. Enrollment of patients to the hydroxychloroquine arm was stopped after the review of data showed no benefits in the treatment. In the randomized trial, 1,542 hospitalized COVID-19 patients received hydroxychloroquine and 3,132 patients received standard care. No significant differences in day-28 mortality (25.7% HCQ vs. 23.5% control) or duration of hospitalization were found between the treatment and the control group. Detailed results have yet to be published, but accumulating data from larger, randomized studies suggest that a benefit from chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19 is unlikely. A new study published in ‘Science Immunology’ suggested that AstraZeneca’s Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor Calquence (acalabrutinib), a mantle cell lymphoma treatment, has potential for the treatment of severe COVID-19 patients. The drug inhibits macrophage signaling and activation, and can thus have an effect in COVID-19 patients by suppressing the hyper-inflammatory immune response. Calquence was used off-label in 19 patients and reduced markers of inflammation and improved clinical outcomes by reducing the need for supplemental oxygenation and mechanical ventilation after 10 to 14 days of treatment. Larger, randomized studies have to confirm the promising initial results.

Vaccines Update A laboratory at the Imperial College London will be using self-amplifying RNA technology to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The technique works similarly to mRNA vaccines, but smaller amounts of RNA have to be used. If successful, the vaccine will be produced by the newly found company VacEquity Global Health in partnership with Morningside Ventures, an investment company from Hong Kong, and be available at a low-cost for low-and middle-income countries. Clinical trials will start this month. NovaVax is receiving $60M in funding from the US Department of Defense for 10 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373. The vaccine is based on a recombinant nanoparticle in combination with a plant-based adjuvant, and also receives up to $384M in funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,261 clinical trials (-7 from last update)

  • 977 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+2 from last update)

  • 575 companies are impacted (+2 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,363 drugs involved (-6 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 30.1% and 17.5% respectively

  • 30.5% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 204 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+18 from last update)


5 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 743 (+6 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,058 clinical trials globally (+17 from last update)

  • 403 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (unchanged from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 601 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+3 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 169 strategic partnerships (+3 from last update)

  • 50 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 8 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update The chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine debate continues. Studies that showed serious side effects from hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19 were retracted by the 'New England Journal of Medicine' and 'The Lancet'. The retrospective NEJM study analyzed data from more than 96,000 patients and did not only see no benefit in taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, with or without an antibiotic, in comparison with a large control group, but identified serious adverse events, particularly cardiovascular problems and an increase in mortality in the treatment group. The Lancet study concluded that COVID-19 patients with underlying cardiovascular diseases have a higher risk of in-hospital death. Surgisphere, which provided data for both studies, is facing scrutiny as data used in the articles do not match official hospital records from certain countries. Studies not holding up to the gold standard of clinical research have now appeared on both pre-print databases and in established journals, and although accumulating evidence suggests benefits from taking chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine seem to be unlikely, data about adverse events remain conflicting.

Vaccines Update 'Operation Warp Speed's final list did not include the biotechs NovaVax and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, both testing COVID-19 vaccine candidates in Phase I clinical trials. NovaVax is developing a vaccine based on a recombinant nanoparticle in combination with a plant-based adjuvant, and was able to secure manufacturing capacity by acquiring a vaccine plant in the Czech republic, and now contracted AGC Biologics to produce its adjuvant. Inovio, which is developing a DNA-vaccine for COVID-19, has been contracting the Korean-owned company VGXI to produce vaccine doses for its clinical trials, and now wants to transfer the technology to new partners with larger production capacities. However, VGXI refused to transfer the technology, resulting in Inovio filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, Inovio announced a partnership with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and Seoul National University Hospital to start a Phase I/II clinical trial of its DNA vaccine in South Korea.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,268 clinical trials (-5 from last update)

  • 975 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (+2 from last update)

  • 573 companies are impacted (+1 from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,369 drugs involved (-9 from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 30% and 17.4% respectively

  • 30.5% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 186 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+13 from last update)


4 June


Pipeline Drugs

  • 737 (+8 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70.3% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,041 clinical trials globally (+17 from last update)

  • 403 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+2 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 598 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+7 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 166 strategic partnerships (-1 from last update)

  • 50 Licensing agreements (unchanged from last update)

  • 8 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update The 'New England Journal of Medicine' published another hydroxychloroquine study yesterday. In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 719 participants who had a high-risk exposure to people with confirmed COVID-19 were given hydroxychloroquine or a placebo within four days after exposure, and the incidence of illness compatible with COVID-19 was measured within 14 days. There was no significant difference in the incidence of new illness between the hydroxychloroquine and the control group (11.8% vs. 14.3%). More adverse events were described in the treatment group (40.1%) than in the placebo group (16.8%), but none of them were serious. One big caveat of the study is that it was conducted online; symptoms and adverse events were self-reported without seeing a doctor. Furthermore, not all study participants were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection due to the lack of testing availability. However, this study further dampens the hope that the malaria drug can help prevent COVID-19 infections. Meanwhile, the WHO is resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of their study that is testing several treatment candidates for COVID-19 after a review of safety concerns that were expressed in the large retrospective hydroxychloroquine 'Lancet' study that garnered criticism on its methodology. 'The Lancet' issued an 'Expression of concern' while study results are being validated by an external commission.

Vaccines Update Five finalists have been chosen to receive support from Operation Warp Speed, the US government's initiative to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development with the goal to deliver up to 300 million vaccine doses for the US by early 2021. With AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, and Pfizer, the finalists are mostly big pharma companies, Moderna being the only biotech. However, most companies entered partnerships to develop COVID-19 vaccines; Pfizer is partnering with German biotech BioNTech for the development of a mRNA vaccine, AstraZeneca is supporting Oxford University's adenovirus vector vaccine, and Merck acquired Austrian biotech Themis to develop a product based on the measles vaccine, and is also collaborating with the non-profit IAVI to develop a COVID-19 vaccine based on its Ebola vaccine. While Merck and Johnson & Johnson have not started human studies, yet, Moderna and the NIH are planning to enroll 30,000 participants for a Phase III study of mRNA-1273 starting in July. Not included in the final group are Sanofi's recombinant vaccine candidate that will utilize an adjuvant from GSK, Novavax's recombinant nanoparticle vaccine, and Inovio's DNA vaccine. Today, AstraZeneca announced to have reached agreements with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Vaccine Alliance Gavi for the production and distribution of 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for $750M. Furthermore, a licensing agreement gives the Indian vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India the ability to produce one billion doses of the vaccine for low- and middle-income countries. These deals will ensure AstraZeneca’s and Oxford’s vaccine candidate AZD1222 will be accessible around the world and comes among ongoing debates as to which country will get first access to a COVID-19 vaccine. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the European Union is planning to use money from its $2.7B rainy day fund for advance purchases of promising vaccine candidates and to increase vaccine production capacity in Europe. Furthermore, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands formed a 'Vaccine Alliance' to help accelerate vaccine production in Europe and to make sure the continent does not fall behind the US and China, where most of the vaccine research is happening.

Disrupted clinical trials

  • 1,273 clinical trials (unchanged from last update)

  • 973 organizations (industry and academia) are impacted (unchanged from last update)

  • 572 companies are impacted (unchanged from last update) as sponsor, collaborator or CRO

  • 1,378 drugs involved (unchanged from last update)

  • Majority of delays are oncology and CNS with 30% and 17.4% respectively

  • 30.4% of trials are in Phase III, III/IV or IV

  • 173 clinical trials resumed after disruption (+4 from last update)


3 June

Pipeline Drugs

  • 729 (+11 from last update) and includes a combination of novel agents, as well as repurposed drugs

  • 70% are in discovery or preclinical

Clinical Trials

  • 2,024 clinical trials globally (+22 from last update)

  • 401 clinical trials with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (+3 from last update)

  • 22 clinical trials with remdesivir (unchanged from last update)

  • 591 companies and institutions driving prophylactic and curative innovation (+8 from last update)

Deal-making Activity

  • 167 strategic partnerships (+3 from last update)

  • 50 Licensing agreements (+1 from last update)

  • 8 M&A (unchanged from last update)

  • 26 financing (unchanged from last update)

Therapeutic Update A new study by Houston Methodist Medical Center showed COVID-19 convalescent plasma therapy to be safe and effective for the treatment of COVID-19. Of 25 severe COVID-19 patients receiving plasma from recovered patients, nine showed clinical improvement after 7 days and 19 after 14 days. Interestingly, all study participants also received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as additional treatment, and two received Gilead's antiviral remdesivir. Larger, randomized and placebo controlled studies have to confirm the benefits of convalescent plasma therapy and control for efficacy of plasma therapy alone and in combination with hydroxychloroquine and/or remdesivir. Meanwhile, the large retrospective hydroxychloroquine study from the Lancet, published two weeks ago, earned further criticism, with 'The Lancet' issuing an 'Expression of concern' while study results are being validated by an external commission. Gilead's antiviral remdesivir is almost ready to be distributed in India, after receiving 'emergency use with condition for five dose administration' status. Following a licensing agreement between Gilead and several generic drug makers to distribute remdesivir in low- and middle-income countries, Jubilant Pharmaceuticals and Cipla are in the process of discussing pricing and dosing of the antiviral with Indian government officials, before approval can be finalized. Furthermore, remdesivir received approval in Taiwan on Saturday and emergency use approval in South Korea today. Vaccines Update Operation Warp Speed, the US government's initiative to support and accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development has a new beneficiary, according to Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of NantKwest and ImmunityBio. Operation Warp Speed is already supporting vaccine candidates from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca, and has a total of 14 companies shortlisted for financial support. NantKwest/ImmunityBio are developing a COVID-19 vaccine based on the adenovirus vector 5 (Ad5), also being used by Oxford University/AstraZeneca and CanSino Biologics. By deleting some genes of the viral vector, ImmunityBio is attempting to mitigate preexisting immunity to the Ad5 virus that has been used in other drugs. Furthermore, not only the genetic sequence of the commonly used SARS-CoV-2 surface spike protein is used as antigen, but also a gene encoding a viral nucleocapsid protein with the goal to boost the human