The Private Sector vs. the Pandemic
Companies and wealthy individuals are stepping up.
Just as automakers famously shifted to make tanks and planes during World War II, today’s corporations are retooling their production lines to make everything from hand sanitizers (LVMH) to respirators (Ford, GE). In the U.K., billionaire inventor James Dyson announced his vacuum cleaner firm would start manufacturing ventilators. German drugmaker BioNTech—backed by twins Thomas and Andreas Struengmann, billionaires both—is working with Pfizer and Fosun Pharma to develop a vaccine. It is one of more than a dozen COVID-19 vaccines under development—smart considering that two of every three vaccines for infectious diseases fail, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study.
But you don’t need to be a multinational or have billionaire owners to pitch in: Italian startup Takis Biotech, with 25 employees, is racing to make a vaccine, while Carbon, a 3D-printing outfit in California, will soon be distributing testing swabs. At right are 11 companies on the coronavirus frontlines. For many more, please visit forbes.com/fighting-coronavirus.
North Chicago–based publicly traded pharma firm is collaborating with authorities in the EU, U.S. and China on experimental use of its HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir to treat COVID-19.
French biotech company, founded by billionaire Alain Mérieux, received emergency FDA approval for its subsidiary’s new testing kit, which cuts testing times for the virus down to 45 minutes.
Tianjin, China–based pharmaceutical company is starting clinical trials for its COVID19 vaccine, using the vaccine technology deployed to develop the Ebola vaccine.
New York startup’s emergency response tool, backed by Peter Thiel’s VC fund, is being used by 911 responders in New Orleans to track patients by video-screening callers.
German company funded by billionaire Dietmar Hopp and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in the early stages of developing a vaccine.
This Italian biotech company, owned by billionaire Gustavo Denegri, obtained emergency authorization from the FDA for its new 60-minute testing kit for COVID-19.
Maryland pharmaceutical firm is developing treatments derived from antibodies found in the blood of people who have tested positive for the disease.
The California biotech giant initiated clinical trials in March for its antiviral drug remdesivir on patients in the U.S.
South San Francisco–based biotech startup, founded by three Forbes 30 Under 30 alums, prototyped a rapid test by using the geneediting tool CRISPR to detect the disease.
Massachusetts biotech company was the first to begin human trials of its vaccine, on March 16 in Seattle.
Tarrytown, New York, biotech outfit run by billionaires Leonard Schleifer and George Yancopoulos is conducting trials of its rheumatoid arthritis drug sarilumab, codeveloped with French firm Sanofi, on patients in New York.