Biopharma industry leaders collaborate to combat COVID-19

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations has announced that the biopharma industry has responding swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic and will further increase its efforts.

Coronavirus particles

…at least nine member companies are researching and developing new diagnostic tests, vaccines or treatments”

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) has confirmed that having already mobilised on an unprecedented scale to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, they commit to do more.

The biopharmaceutical industry commits to accelerate its effort to use its skills, technology and resources to bring safe, effective diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to patients around the world.

David Ricks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eli Lilly and Co and IFPMA President, said: “We are sending a clear signal of how seriously industry is taking the pandemic and the need to act as one team. So, we are sharing our commitments on how we, as an industry, are stepping up to do all we can to fight this pandemic.”

Among the commitments are to:

  • use the industry’s expertise and know-how to speed up the development of safe and effective vaccines, partnering with others to make it possible
  • use medical expertise to support global healthcare systems to manage the unprecedented increase in pressure they face
  • share tools and insights to test potential therapies and vaccines as well as developing and scaling up capacity of diagnostics for testing COVID-19 patients
  • increase the industry’s manufacturing capabilities and share available capacity to ramp up production once a successful vaccine or treatment is developed
  • work to secure continuity of supply for all essential medicines, vaccines and diagnostics for patients with other life-threatening diseases, calling on governments to implement policies and decisions that facilitate access for those in need.

Biopharma companies have begun to screen their libraries of medicines to identify potential treatments, now that the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence has been shared. The industry has devoted significant resources and worked with partners in public health to develop technologies that have dramatically shortened the time it takes to decode viruses and develop a potential vaccine. 

Today, more than 80 clinical trials are underway to test new and existing medicines. According to IFPMA, at least nine member companies are researching and developing new diagnostic tests, vaccines or treatments and testing existing medicines to treat those infected with the virus. Other companies are involved in fast-tracking diagnostic technology to help detect cases more rapidly.

Thomas Cueni, IFPMA Director General, says the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic demands extraordinary efforts across the board. He declared: “Society needs to know it can count on the biopharmaceutical industry to work to rapidly bring forward therapies, vaccines and diagnostics that protect humankind from this escalating pandemic and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.”