Coronavirus pharma news roundup – 24/07/20

With coronavirus vaccine trials finally showing positive results, analysts are starting to wonder what access challenges might lie ahead. We highlight the top R&D, digital and market access news for COVID-19 from the past week.

  • Data from more than 1,000 healthy volunteers dosed with a coronavirus vaccine developed at Oxford University and AstraZeneca suggest the shot is safe and stimulates an immune response against the virus.
  • The focus is now moving on how to get the in-depth safety and efficacy results needed to get Oxford’s jab formally approved – including the possibility of a controversial “challenge trial” where healthy subjects are given the vaccine and then exposed to the virus to test the levels of protection it confers.
  • The US government has agreed to pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion to secure access to 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine on approval, just days after promising results in a clinical trial. Meanwhile, the UK has secured 90 million doses of the companies’ vaccine, with an option of 40 million doses if they check out in trials.
  • Concerns have emerged about access to some potential COVID-19 vaccines after pharma executives from three companies said they expect to make profits from their products in evidence to a US Congressional panel.
  • JP Morgan has downgraded its valuation of Moderna, saying its $37 billion market cap is way too high even if its COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 succeeds in clinical trials.
  • An inhaled drug developed by the UK firm Synairgen greatly reduces the chances of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 from progressing to more serious stages of the disease, trial results have shown
  • A smartphone app developed by medical software specialist Allm is being trialled in Japan to see if it can help patients with milder coronavirus symptoms recuperate at home, without tying up healthcare resources.
  • Roche has announced half-year results showing the COVID-19 pandemic affected sales of its key products, with currency headwinds also weighing on revenues.
  • Healthware has launched a new online resource that aggregates information and analysis on how to respond to the huge changes COVID-19 has wrought across life sciences and healthcare.