Coronavirus pharma news roundup – 12/06/20

We highlight the top R&D digital and market access news around coronavirus from the past week.

  • The largest trial to date on hydroxychloroquine has concluded it has “no beneficial effect” when used to treat patients hospitalised with COVID-19.
  • The EMA has said it will fast-track the review of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, after the US biopharma submitted its marketing application for the drug. The EU regulator says it could issue a verdict on conditional approval of remdesivir “within weeks” if the data filed in favour of the drug supports a green light as a treatment for severely ill coronavirus patients.
  • The pharma industry has warned that the UK’s stockpiles of medical supplies intended to cover disruption caused by Brexit have been “used up entirely” by the effort against the coronavirus, according to a press report.
  • Frontline healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic can now access a free music therapy app, called HealthTunes, that its developers say can help relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Regeneron has said it has begun clinical trials of its antibody cocktail therapy for COVID-19, as pharma companies continue their search for treatments as the pandemic continues to cause havoc across the world.
  • Johnson & Johnson has announced it has brought forward the start of its COVID-19 vaccine trial by around two months to mid-July.
  • South Korea’s Celltrion Healthcare has begun a UK trial of its infliximab biosimilar to see if the drug can accelerate recovery from symptoms of COVID-19. The company noted that COVID-19 is associated with an immune inflammatory response, and therapies that could target this could be used to treat the disease.
  • Boehringer Ingelheim is to make a bank of its molecules available to scientists in a bid to encourage open innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many scientists are working from home.
  • UK firm hVIVO has launched a coronavirus antibody testing service for big businesses that it says could help get employees back to work as lockdown eases. The antibody test is available to UK companies initially, while hVIVO looks into rolling out the testing service to GP surgeries, nursing services, health clinics and private hospitals. For the time being the tests aren’t on offer to individual members of the public.
  • COVID-19 is hastening Northern Ireland’s push for digital health records. By 2024, all citizens in Northern Ireland will have a single ‘digital care record’ that will do away with the outdated patchwork of digital and paper systems used at the moment.