Coronavirus pharma news roundup – 26/06/20

As COVID-19 drugs vie for approval, we highlight the top pharma R&D, digital and market access news for coronavirus from the past week.

  • The EMA’s human medicines committee has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation to Gilead’s COVID-19 treatment remdesivir – making it the first drug of its kind to be given such a recommendation in the EU.
  • US artificial intelligence company BERG has agreed a deal to access a federal supercomputer to help it hunt down drugs to treat coronavirus. The biotech has teamed up with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to harness its Summit supercomputer – originally developed by IBM – in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Parents’ willingness to vaccinate children has been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but safety fears mean few are willing to take their child to a medical centre to receive jabs, according to a survey from GlaxoSmithKline.
  • The first healthy volunteer has been dosed with Imperial College London’s coronavirus vaccine, the second UK-developed candidate to reach the clinical testing stage. The vaccine – based on a new technology known as self-amplifying RNA – was delivered at a small dose to an anonymous subject at a West London clinic, with no apparent side effects or safety concerns, according to Imperial.
  • Charities have already been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, and Cancer Research UK says it could have to cut £150 million from much-needed research funding as it prepares for a big drop in income.
  • GlaxoSmithKline has begun a COVID-19 clinical trial with China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals, combining its booster with the biotech’s early-stage vaccine. GSK said it had begun a phase 1 clinical trial after studies in several different types of animal showed the beneficial effect of the vaccine, with high levels of neutralising antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the disease.
  • Efforts to get Gilead’s experimental COVID-19 drug remdesivir to patients in badly-hit India are building after drug maker Cipla announced it had launched the drug in the country.
  • Researchers in the UK have started testing a coronavirus test that would do away with the need to swab the nose and throat, and instead use a saliva sample that could be easily taken at home.