In a statement released on Friday, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, suggested the industry join forces and work ‘as one team’ to combat the pandemic.
Bourla announced a plan consisting of five actions that Pfizer will take in order to assist the development of coronavirus therapies, as well as to prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.
In the meantime, Pfizer is working on its own development projects for potential antiviral therapies, as well for a potential mRNA coronavirus vaccine under development in partnership with BioNTech.
The first step will see Pfizer make the software tools and digital data it utilizes for its research on coronavirus shared on an open source platform, accessible by ‘the broader scientific community’.
“With very little known about this virus, many are working to develop cell-based assays, viral screening, serological assays, and translational models to test potential therapies and vaccines,” the company stated, adding that the platform will include data and learnings gained with other companies in real time.
Scientists ‘SWAT team’
Under the second step, Pfizer announces the creation of a SWAT team consisting its mostly skilled scientists, including virologists, biologists, chemists, clinicians, epidemiologists, vaccine experts, and pharmaceutical scientists.
The team will be dedicated to research against the virus, since the company suggests that “Human capital is our most valuable resource.”
Late-stage and compliance support
Pfizer’s third action regards small biotech companies screening compounds or existing therapies for activity against the virus, which might “lack experience in late stage development and navigating the complex regulatory systems.”
The company announces that it is willing to share its expertise to support the most promising candidates brought forward by smaller competitors.
Upon approval, Pfizer projects that a therapy will need to be ‘rapidly’ scaled and deployed around the world to fight the pandemic. Therefore, the company stated that it will use ‘any excess’ manufacturing capacity of its own for this purpose.
Moreover, it announces that it is willing to potentially shift its production to support others and get the breakthroughs to patients as soon as possible.
Preparedness for the future
Finally, the company announced that it has initiated discussions with regulatory bodies including the US National Institute of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Discussions aim to build a cross-industry ‘rapid response’ team of scientists, clinicians and technicians which would be able to take action immediately in the event of future epidemics.