By HealthCare Institute of New Jersey President and CEO Dean J. Paranicas
New Jersey’s life sciences community is responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with urgency and priority on multiple levels. As COVID-19 is a global threat, biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies are committing expert scientific research to the effort to create a vaccine and to develop therapies. Companies also are contributing significant humanitarian aid to patients, communities and governments in need. Below are recent activities by HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) member companies.
Vaccines and Antiviral Medicines
● Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, is working to develop a vaccine for coronavirus in collaboration with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Researchers at Janssen also are exploring about 30 previously tested medicines that might be used to help patients survive coronavirus and reduce the severity of disease. The company also has donated 350 cases of its HIV medication to Chinese researchers, who are assessing its value in combatting coronavirus.
● Pfizerhas identified certain antiviral compounds already in development that may be effective for inhibiting coronaviruses. The company is working with a third party to screen the compounds, and if any are successful, testing could start by year’s end. It also has made a large cash donation to the nonprofit Direct Relief, which is sending personal protective gear to China.
● Sanofi Pasteur is working with BARDA to utilize the company’s previous efforts toward a SARS vaccine, which may prove useful against coronavirus. The company will employ its recombinant DNA platform, which produces an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus, to develop a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate.
Financial and Product Donations
● Allergan China responded with a ¥1 million donation to help alleviate a shortage of medical masks, gloves and other protective equipment needed by the Chinese government.
● Bayeris donating medicines and additional financial aid worth a total of approximately €1.5 million. The cash will help provide the protective clothing urgently needed by medical staff in Wuhan. The donated medicines include an antibiotic, vitamin C and an antipyretic/analgesic.
● Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS)contributed approximately $750,000 in cash and needed products to Wuhan City and Hubei province. The BMS Foundation has donated more than one million personal protection items to healthcare workers in Chin.
● Eli Lilly and Company’s foundation contributed $250,000 to Project Hope and Direct Relief to support the purchase and shipment of supplies to China. The Lilly Foundation also made a cash donation of about $150,000 by Lilly China to the Red Cross and will match donations made by employees.
● BD donated a wide range of medical devices, including syringes, sharps and blood collection tubes, worth about $300,000 to the Red Cross in Wuhan. BD also contributed $50,000 to supply personal protective equipment to frontline health workers.
● Johnson & Johnson gave 1 million surgical masks and 1 million RMB, the currency of China, to the Chinese Red Cross. The company also donated thermometers, respirators, protective suits and other supplies.
● Roche is working with Chinese health authorities to ensure people can access screening and healthcare. The company has donated diagnostic tests, medical supplies and financial support.