AstraZeneca aims for summer start for COVID-19 antibody trial

AstraZeneca has made its multipronged approach to the development of antibodies against the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus. The giant is utilizing its discovery capabilities and assisting in assessing the candidates who were identified in China and the U.S.

As part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA’s) Pandemic Preparedness Platform program, AstraZeneca has developed competencies to discover antibodies against emerging viral threats. AstraZeneca first disclosed that it is developing coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies, along with putting more than 50 experts in fields such as virology and immunology on the case. AstraZeneca is evaluating the candidates from three different sources, whereas other R&D shops are focusing on one source of antibodies, such as people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Arrakis, Roche collaborate for RNA-targeting drugs

Arrakis Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, develops drugs for neurological disorders and other diseases. The biotech has been avoiding the pharma suitors and building its RNA-targeting technology. It turns out, that opportunity is far more excellent than Arrakis could handle on its own, so the company is partnering up with Roche to help develop a suite of RNA-targeted small-molecule drugs.

The biotech gets USD 190 Million upfront in a collaboration that will discover small molecule RNA-targeted therapies against a range of targets selected by Roche. Arrakis contemplates that its technology can drug difficult-to-reach targets.

GSK, AstraZeneca launch COVID-19 testing lab 

The drug-makers AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline are giving a helping hand to assist the U.K. government’s national COVID-19 testing efforts by launching a joint lab at the University of Cambridge.

The facility focuses on processing 30,000 coronavirus tests per day. It will also search for the use of alternative chemical reagents for high-throughput testing to expand the U.K.’s overall diagnostic supply.

While the company typically carries out sequencing tests as part of drug development work, but the main challenge will be bringing those processes up to a large scale.

At the same time, the joint lab will work to support the country’s three other main, centralized COVID-19 testing centres by leveraging the Big Pharma’s’ expertise in automation, robotics and optimization to help speed up their work and expand capacity.

U.S. government funds OraSure Technologies 

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, known as BARDA, of the U.S. federal government, has funded the development of a swift coronavirus test that can be self-administered at home.

OraSure Technologies have designed it; the test would detect the new infection that causes COVID-19 along with all coronaviruses that lead to severe respiratory disease like the strain behind the previous SARS outbreak.

Although the test could still be four to six months away from being completed and ready for commercialization, the BARDA contract awarded the company USD 710,310 to help OraSure eventually file for an emergency product authorization from the FDA.