Drug firms target coronavirus – treatments sought by Chinese, Western firms

With the COVID-19 virus shaking global markets and economies, anti-viral drug developers around the world are increasing efforts to develop treatments for the disease.

Western pharmaceutical firms and research organizations have launched accelerated research and testing programs for novel coronavirus vaccines. Among the companies testing treatments are Gilead Sciences , a biotechnology company based in Foster City, California, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, Moderna, Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, Noravax, a clinical-stage vaccine company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila, antiviral therapy developer NanoViricides, Inc., of Shelton, Connecticut, and San Francisco-based firms Vir Biotechnology and Vaxart.

In China, dozens of antiviral studies targeting COVID-19 are underway, with private pharmaceutical firms working with the government’s Center for Drug Evaluation on options. Among the firms at work are Ascletis Pharma, a Chinese biotech manufacturer located in Hangzhou, and Clover Biopharmaceuticals, another China-based biotechnology company located in Chengdu. Also, Clover Biopharmaceuticals announced in February it would be collaborating with the British multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline on a new vaccine.