Pharma companies race to develop coronavirus vax

Jan. 27, 2020

Atlanta-based GeoVax has announced a partnership with a Chinese company to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus that is spreading through China.

In a letter of intent released Monday, GeoVax said it would leverage its MVA-VLP vaccine platform and genetic sequencing to identify a vaccine candidate. BravoVax, located in Wuhan — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — will provide further development, testing and manufacturing support.

This latest partnership is one of several in the pharma industry, which is scrambling to respond to the outbreak that has, so far, killed over 80 and infected more than 2,000 people in China.

Stocks for three other companies — Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna Inc., and Novavax Inc. — all soared last week amid reports that they are also working on a coronavirus vaccine. Some of the vaccines could reportedly be ready for human testing in a few months. 

AbbVie also announced this week that it is donating more than $1 million-worth of its HIV drug, Aluvia, to China to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.