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COVID R&D: Pharmas align behind crowdsourcing solution

BioCentury is providing this story for free given the urgent need for information about the COVID-19 crisis. For more analysis, sign up for our daily email

Within under a month, a group that started as a mash-up of research heads has morphed into an organized and streamlined collaboration among top pharmaceutical company R&D leaders. Its simple name: COVID R&D. Its goal: To push forward therapies and vaccines against COVID-19 at breakneck speed.

As part of its service to the biomedical community, BioCentury has coordinated with the consortium to collate publicly available information on molecules under investigation for COVID-19. More than 250 therapies and vaccines are listed in BioCentury’s open-access information portal for all researchers, with more being added daily (see BioCentury’s COVID-19 Resource Center).

From the outset, the pharma group’s mission has been to share data, find the molecules with the greatest rationale for advancement into clinical trials, and put them into studies designed to yield the most meaningful results fastest.

At a minimum, the group aims to use its collective expertise to triage and advance the best opportunities from the deluge of assets being put forward for studies by biotechs and academic researchers.

At the start, there was no formal structure. There were phone calls, emails and Zoom meetings. Those ad hoc discussions produced an organized structure with a central group that branches into satellite teams with a series of plans.

The core group has so far garnered 17 companies, including 14 pharmas, the research biotech Evotec SE (Xetra:EVT) and VCs 5AM and Versant Ventures.

“The more we can share information and learn

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