The Pri­vate Sec­tor vs. the Pan­demic

Com­pa­nies and wealthy in­di­vid­u­als are step­ping up.

Forbes - - IN­SIDE -

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.

AB­BVIE

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.

BIOMÉRIEUX

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.

CANSINO BI­O­LOG­ICS

Tian­jin, China–based phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany is start­ing clin­i­cal tri­als for its COVID19 vac­cine, us­ing the vac­cine tech­nol­ogy de­ployed to de­velop the Ebola vac­cine.

CARBYNE

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.

CUREVAC

Ger­man com­pany funded by bil­lion­aire Di­et­mar Hopp and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion is in the early stages of de­vel­op­ing a vac­cine.

DIASORIN

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.

EMER­GENT BIOSOLUTIO­NS

Mary­land phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm is de­vel­op­ing treat­ments de­rived from an­ti­bod­ies found in the blood of peo­ple who have tested pos­i­tive for the dis­ease.

GILEAD

The Cal­i­for­nia biotech gi­ant ini­ti­ated clin­i­cal tri­als in March for its an­tivi­ral drug remde­sivir on pa­tients in the U.S.

MAM­MOTH BIO­SCIENCES

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.

MODERNA

Mas­sachusetts biotech com­pany was the first to be­gin hu­man tri­als of its vac­cine, on March 16 in Seat­tle.

RE­GEN­ERON PHAR­MA­CEU­TI­CALS

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.

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