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Not done yet. The COVID R&D Alliance has plenty on its plate for 2021

Takeda’s Andy Plump and Theravance’s Brett Haumann discuss the consortium’s priorities, and what lessons carry forward for 2021 and beyond

Takeda’s Andy Plump and Theravance’s Brett Haumann discuss why master protocols make sense, how well — or not — data-sharing is going, and what’s next for the consortium.

Jan 1, 2021 | 1:36 AM GMT

With little fuss or fanfare, the COVID R&D Alliance was created early in the pandemic by the biopharma industry’s biggest players to solve one of the world’s most devastating problems in a century. Now, the looming question for this and the other COVID consortia is where do they go from here, as success on the vaccine front offers hope for an end to the emergency.

BioCentury sat down, virtually, with Andrew Plump and Brett Haumann, two members of the 22-strong COVID R&D Alliance, to discuss how the group views its mission in the coming year. Plump is President of R&D at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Tokyo:4502; NYSE:TAK) and Haumann is CMO at Theravance Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ:TBPH).

What separates the COVID R&D Alliance from the two other major COVID consortia, ACTIV and the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, is that it was not coordinated by a public sector entity but was pulled together spontaneously by a group of pharma R&D heads looking to avoid redundancy of efforts and put competition aside to expedite the creation of countermeasures. ACTIV was created by NIH and the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH), and the CTA was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; SIX:NOVN), both as public-private partnerships. 

Though all three consortia have overlapping memberships, that has been an asset rather than a hurdle, according to Haumann and Plump, because it has allowed the groups to focus their efforts to fill different needs. For example, COVID R&D stood down on vaccine development when it was clear that other initiatives were filling that

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