Contributing to the Cure – How LSO Members are combating the spread of COVID-19

LSO put out a call to our members requesting insights on how companies are working together to combat the rapid spread of the novel COVID-19 virus. Below are some examples of how we, as a community are helping to control the outbreak.

Member Announcements

Amgen Canada: Amgen will provide its medicines free of charge on a temporary basis to Canadian patients who are currently prescribed an Amgen medication and no longer have prescription drug coverage due to loss of employment-related to COVID-19. For patient assistance information, please visit www.amgen.ca.

Amgen Canada has donated $100,000 to the Innovative Medicines Canada fund to urgently supply 100,000 N95 masks.

Amgen Canada has made a considerable donation to the CanadaHelps COVID-19 HealthCare and Hospital Fund and to the CanadaHelps COVID-19 Community Care Fund and are also matching staff donations to these funds through the Amgen Foundation Disaster Relief Matching Gifts Program.

  • Not only does the Amgen Foundation support the Khan Academy and LabXchange, which provide digital science learning, but Amgen Canada is supporting its science education partners to finance COVID-19 related needs. Of note, one of Amgen Canada’s key science education partners, Let’s Talk Science, has just launched a STEM at home learning resource page that includes enhanced free support to educators, students and families.
  • The research team based at Amgen British Columbia is actively engaged in anti-COVID 19 therapeutic antibody discovery efforts.
  • We are focussed on using antibody-producing B cells derived from patients that have mounted an immune response and recovered from the COVID-19 disease.
  • This research leverages antibody discovery technologies developed by scientists at Amgen British Columbia and their over 20 years of experience in the field of discovery therapeutic antibodies, in collaboration with Amgen’s subsidiary deCODE Genetics, Amgen’s US-based research sites and external partners at Adaptive Bio.

BDO: In response to the rapidly evolving threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has focused on creating a plan of action to minimize the potentially devastating health, economic, and social impact of this crisis.

Bayer: Donating medicines and additional financial aid worth a total of approximately EUR 1.5 million to support the population affected by the outbreak of the novel virus in China.

Bayer partners with Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) on global clinical research evaluating COVID-19 treatments.

BLG: is committed to keeping you informed on the business issues emerging from this dynamic situation. Find the latest legal and regulatory updates organized by area/industry below for easy reference. COVID-19 Resource Centre 

BISEP: BISEP has made the decision to stop printing our device parts and are focusing fully on printing and donating Face-Shields for our Niagara frontline workers. In partnership with Spark Niagara/The Niagara Falls Ryerson Innovation Hub . Thus far we have 3D printed and donated over 500 Face-Shields as per the photos below for Heidehof Retirement Home, The Niagara Health System, Project Share, and Niagara Falls Firefighters. This is a very small step to help in the fight but we just wanted to help our essential frontline workers in time of need. Please email us if you are in need and we will try to accomodate.

Clinical Trials Ontario: Clinical Trials Ontario is supporting the research community to advance COVID-19 research as quickly as possible. Whether you are an investigator or an industry sponsor, we can help you find new sites and partners through our Trial Site Network comprised of more than 150 academic hospitals, community hospitals, CROs, and private research networks.

Genome Canada is issuing a funding opportunity to support regional genomics projects designed to address specific, short-term needs of industry, not-for-profit, and public sector receptors through research conducted by academics in collaboration with these receptors.

GlaxoSmithKline and CEPI: Announce collaboration to strengthen the global effort to develop a vaccine for the 2019-nCOV virus.

Innovative Medicines Canada: As the spread of Covid-19 continues, the quest for a vaccine is becoming more urgent and Canada’s research-based pharmaceutical companies are playing a vital role in developing solutions to treat those already infected by the virus and to prevent it from spreading further.

Members Donate 100,000 masks: Innovative Medicines Canada members donate 100,000 masks to help protect front-line healthcare workers battling COVID-19. The donation is in response to the federal government’s request for additional protective equipment. The masks are being shipped to the Public Health Agency of Canada, who will distribute them where they are needed most.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has begun research into a vaccine, leveraging the same innovative technology used for the company’s investigational Ebola vaccine. Janssen, the pharmaceutical arm of J&J, has donated medicines for use in laboratory-based investigations to support efforts in finding a solution against COVID-19.

Lilly: AbCellera and Lilly to Co-develop Antibody Therapies for the Treatment of COVID-19

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced today it has entered into an agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study baricitinib as an arm in NIAID’s Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial. 

LifeLabs: Providing laboratory testing for COVID-19. More than 1,000 samples a day of testing capacity to be added in Ontario.

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals: Mallinckrodt and Novoteris Receive Clearance from Health Canada to Start Pilot Trial of High-Dose Inhaled Nitric Oxide Therapy for COVID-19 Infection and Associated Lung Complications

Medicago: Announces the production of a viable vaccine candidate for COVID-19 which is undergoing preclinical testing for safety and efficacy.

Medtech Canada: Has launched a webpage to direct readers to the appropriate resources and initiatives surrounding and securing the appropriate products to diagnose, treat and prevent infect with severe acute respiratory syndrome (COVID-19)

Merck: Established a team of scientists to assess internally available antiviral candidates and vaccine assets for potential to impact the COVID-19 and related viruses.

Pfizer:  Pfizer has outlined a five-point plan calling on the biopharmaceutical industry to join the company in committing to unprecedented collaboration to combat COVID-19.

Hoffmann-La Roche: Roche wins approval for Actemra for coronavirus complications

Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada) is pleased to announce the launch of the Roche Data Science Coalition, a group of like-minded public and private organizations committed to working with the global community to develop solutions to the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic. The collaborators in the Coalition include Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii)doc.aiNVIDIASelf Care CatalystsThinkData Works Inc and Vector Institute.

Covid- 19 Open Innovation Challenge – Roche Canada is committed to working with partnership with our Canadian community to develop solutions to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

Sanofi: Company plans to announce a new COVID-19 initiative and is sharing its expertise and data acquired from other outbreaks with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is working with biotech businesses in developing a vaccine candidate for the virus.

Sanofi and GSK to join forces in unprecedented vaccine collaboration to fight COVID-19: Companies to combine innovative technologies to develop an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine. Candidate vaccine expected to enter clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful, to be available in the second half of 202

Servier Canada: Since the beginning of the crisis, Servier is committed to helping those who fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. In Canada, Servier partners with Innovative Medicines Canada members to donate 100,000 masks to help protect front-line healthcare workers. At the global level, beyond supporting the research efforts to prevent and treat the coronavirus disease, our company has, to date, contributed to initiatives in more than 35 countries.

Servier is assisting health authorities and hospitals by providing hand sanitizer gel and urgently needed personal protection equipment (more than 300 000 masks, gloves and other protective gear donated directly by Servier or through industry association initiatives). Servier is also joining forces with foundations, NGOs and associations (such as the Chinese Red Cross and Americares in India) by making donations to help caregivers and populations affected by the virus.  Servier also brings its expertise and financial support to the multi-stakeholders partnership Health Innovation Coalition – Health Crisis″ that aims to develop innovative solutions to relieve congestion in the healthcare system and ensure patients with chronic diseases continue to be treated.

Takeda:  Development of an experimental drug to treat people infected with COVID-19, as well as those at high risk, by using the blood of those who have recovered from the virus and the antibodies they developed in their immune systems to defeat the infection.

ThinkResearch: COVID-19 Trials- We’re building a hub to accelerate Canadian COVID-19 clinical trials by connecting Canadians who want to participate in active clinical trials with the researchers who are recruiting patients. We’re working hard to streamline the patient recruitment process across the country.Active Trials in Canada

University of Ottawa: uOttawa Makerspace engineers build protective gear for frontline healthcare workers. Using 3D printers and laser cutters from the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace lab on campus, a small group of students is creating plastic face shields to help fill the need.

Government Resources

COVID-19: Support for Businesses Webpage: There is now a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for businesses seeking information on how to navigate the economy during COVID-19. The webpage includes details about the supports available, guidance for employers and links to additional resources.

Agriculture and food jobs in Ontario: Apply for agriculture, agri-food and food industry jobs to support the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and its impacts on the Canadian agricultural industry.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Information Portal: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agriculture-and-agri-food-canada/?id=1395690825741

Government of Canada – Department of Finance: The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak. To help Canadians and businesses get through these tough economic times, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the Government is proposing to introduce a wage subsidy of 75 per cent for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Government of Canada: Prime Minister announces additional support for businesses to help save Canadian jobs.

List of Essential Work Places: The Ontario government launched a portal of essential businesses and services to remain in operation during the outbreak of COVID-19 some of the relevant industries related to the life sciences are as follows; Supply Chains, Manufacturing and Production, Agriculture and Production, Research, Health Care, Business Regulators and Inspection.  Read more here.

Ontario Together: The provincial government releases a portal for businesses or organizations that can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks, and eye protection. Visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-your-organization-can-help-fight-coronavirus

Ontario Government: Ontario Urges Business to Join the Fight Against COVID-19. New Government Website Removes Barriers for Companies to Provide Essential Goods and Services

Ontario Government: To stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe, the Ontario government is launching a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment, and ventilators.

If You’re a Pre-Revenue Innovative Startup

Other Life Sciences News

CBC News: Canadian company set to crank out ventilators, awaiting the final go-ahead from Ottawa

Ontario Collaborates with Med-Tech Innovation Hub in the Fight Against COVID-19: Assistance available for manufacturing companies retooling to support the front lines

***This document will be updated weekly.