Pharmaceutical companies come together to accelerate the development of innovative antiviral treatments in preparation for future pandemics

20 JULY, CAMBRIDGE, MA —
INTREPID Alliance, with the goal of accelerating progress in discovery and development of new antiviral treatments for future pandemics. This endeavor is in support of the 100 Days Mission, which seeks to have 25 antiviral therapies for viral diseases with pandemic potential ready for Phase II/III clinical trials by 2026. As a first step, INTREPID will publish an initial list of promising antiviral compounds later this year based on publicly available information and derived from a global landscape assessment and scientific evaluation.

The INTREPID Alliance members1 collectively bring expertise in drug discovery, antiviral R&D and medicine manufacturing. INTREPID will monitor and evaluate the wide range of innovative antiviral compounds and projects being researched around the world by academia, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector for infections with pandemic potential, including coronaviruses, or viral families of concern such as filoviruses. The listed compounds will include those that the experts assess to be able to proceed quickly into late-stage clinical development on the onset of a new pandemic.

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of focusing on innovation across a full range of medical countermeasures, including diagnostic tests, vaccines and treatments. Building on learned from the COVID-19 response, INTREPID will contribute to delivering on the 100 Days Mission, established by the G7. The 100 Days Mission seeks to develop and deploy high-quality diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines in just 100 days following the declaration of a pandemic and to work with regulators, research centers and other stakeholders to build a pathway for their development. In COVID-19, the pipeline for oral antivirals took longer to develop than novel vaccines.

The initial list of antiviral compounds with potential utility against pandemic viruses is set to be published by INTREPID later this year, following a broad antiviral landscape assessment and scientific evaluation.

The landscape assessment is expected to identify some R&D gaps that would require new research projects and collaborations to be established and funded. INTREPID will offer advice and consultation to help accelerate the selected antiviral compounds that have the strongest potential to positively alter the course of future pandemics.

Treatments are considered an integral part of any effective pandemic response, with antivirals playing an important role in saving lives. INTREPID will also engage with policymakers and public health bodies to ensure that antivirals are integrated appropriately into global and local efforts to be better prepared against future pandemics.

The work of INTREPID was launched at a one-day Antiviral Summit in March this year, which brought together around 100 thought leaders in virology and global health. A report from the proceedings has been published today, setting out a number of recommendations from Summit attendees including government agencies, industry and multilateral organizations to strengthen the global antiviral ecosystem for pandemic preparedness. These span regulatory coordination, access considerations, manufacturing, as well as policy coordination.

James Anderson, Executive Director of Global Health at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and Chair of the INTREPID Alliance Board, said:

“One of the key lessons from our response to COVID-19 was the power of partnership and innovation.

“This is exactly what the INTREPID Alliance plans to build on – bringing together the experts and the platform needed to help ensure we are better prepared for future pandemics.

“Bridging the gap between pathogens with the greatest pandemic potential and the antiviral solutions we need will require innovation, commitment and collaboration across sectors and the INTREPID Alliance aims to deliver against this goal.”

Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine, said:

“Therapeutics are vital in the fight against pandemics, and we believe the world needs a strong armamentarium of therapeutics in the pipeline ready to tackle future pandemic threats.

“By establishing a listing of promising antiviral candidates, the INTREPID Alliance can have a real impact in ensuring we are better placed to respond to the next pandemic.”

Carl W. Dieffenbach, Director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said:

“An integrated plan for pandemic preparedness addresses key research gaps in top viral families and accelerates the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for prototype and priority pathogens. It is critical that there is close coordination between governments, key global stakeholders, and industry to put in place the best possible preparation for any future pandemic.”

John Young, Head Pandemic Preparedness, Roche Pharma Research and Early Development and Board Member, INTREPID Alliance, said:

“As experienced drug discoverers and developers, the members of the INTREPID Alliance have a key role to play in the pandemic preparedness ecosystem, bringing together major stakeholders and ensuring that safe and effective antivirals are ready for deployment when the next pandemic strikes.”

Sujata Vaidyanathan, Development Unit Head for In-Market Brands and Global Health at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Board Member, INTREPID Alliance, said:

“Collaboration is key for science to move fast. This was one of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. By placing collaboration at the heart of the INTREPID Alliance, I believe we will be well-equipped to respond more rapidly to future pandemics.”

About the INTREPID Alliance

The INTREPID Alliance has been formed to facilitate and accelerate the development of new treatments for emerging viral pandemic agents through facilitating early science and R&D, policy and advocacy and stakeholder engagement.

Led by the biopharmaceutical industry and working with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, INTREPID works to bridge key gaps and unmet needs to ensure delivery of antiviral solutions to viral pathogens with the greatest pandemic potential.

For more information, visit www.intrepidalliance.org

Contact

Nina M. Hill, Ph.D., Secretariat, INTREPID Alliance

[email protected]

Notes to editors

  • The INTREPID Alliance is a collaboration of seven pharmaceutical companies with antiviral drug discovery and development expertise. The companies are AbbVie, Amgen, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Roche and Takeda.
  • One of the key goals of INTREPID is to establish and maintain a list of “100 Days Mission” -ready antiviral compounds. This work would be done collaboratively with other groups of experts and the results would be available publicly.
  • The 100 Days Mission was published by the G7 in 2021, and sets out a plan to have safe and effective diagnostics, treatments and vaccines within 100 days of a new pandemic being declared.
  • The 100 Days Mission includes a call for the creation of a database of Phase 2/3 ready antiviral compounds with strong potential for efficacy against viral pandemic pathogens that can be deployed into efficacy clinical trials immediately following the declaration of a new pandemic, with the goal of having them available for use within 100 Days. These compounds will already have been successfully moved through pre-clinical and early stage development and be ready to move to late-stage clinical trials to test efficacy against the relevant pandemic pathogens.
  • A one-day inaugural Antiviral Summit hosted by the INTREPID Alliance brought together experts from around the world to further define what is needed to support and accelerate early stage
    antiviral research and development to ensure we are better prepared for future pandemics.
  • INTREPID experts plan to classify antiviral compound candidates into three groups: 1) Clinical Agents, compounds with approval for human clinical trials; 2) Pre-Clinical Agents, selected compound candidates prior initiation of human clinical trials; 3) Exploratory Agents, compounds in earlier stages of optimization and profiling.
  • Entry to each of the three groups would be gained by meeting strict pre-determined entry criteria or target product profiles that would be developed by the INTREPID Alliance in collaboration with multiple external expert groups. The source of the compounds evaluated would be from continuing reviews of publicly available information from landscaping analyses as well as other sources of public information related to antiviral research and development.

References:

1: AbbVie, Amgen, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Roche and Takeda