Nicolas Charloteaux - 29 Sep 2020
As a company dedicated to saving and improving lives for more than 100 years, MSD has a special responsibility to help in the fight against COVID-19.
In May 2020, MSD announced two COVID-19 vaccine development efforts – a collaboration with IAVI and plans to acquire Themis Bioscience, a company focused on vaccines and immune-modulation therapies for infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
In a joint effort with IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization, MSD collaborates to develop an investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. This vaccine candidate will use the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) technology that is the basis for MSD’s Ebola Zaire virus vaccine, which was the first rVSV vaccine approved for use in humans. The vaccine candidate is in preclinical development, and clinical studies are planned to start later in 2020.
Through the acquisition of Themis, an Austrian company, MSD plans to accelerate the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine based on a measles virus platform.
In addition to the collaborations with IAVI and the acquisition of Themis, MSD is participating in a research collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology to investigate and define the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 and identify targets for medicines and vaccines, as well as the NIH-led Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV consortium). ACTIV is a partnership that aims to develop a collaborative framework for prioritizing vaccine and drug candidates, streamlining clinical trials and regulatory processes, and/or leveraging assets among all partners to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Alongside other pharmaceutical companies MSD is collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative aims to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19.