Emory University has partnered with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) to create new drugs and therapies aimed at stopping serious disease from COVID-19. The Emory and Pfizer collaboration will take place in Emory University’s Schinazi Laboratory, led by scientist Raymond Schinazi, with the goal of producing novel antiviral compounds to combat COVID, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Although the threat of COVID has waned over the past year, the virus remains a leading cause of death. CDC data shows 1,862 COVID-related deaths in the U.S.
Pfizer, the developer of Paxlovid and collaborator with BioNTech (Nasdaq:BNTX) on the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, is arguably the most visible COVID drug developer.
For Pfizer, this partnership represents an opportunity to maintain its leadership position in the COVID-19 drug market and potentially increase revenue. The company, however, expects its revenue to slide by as much as one-third this year as a result of ebbing demand for COVID therapies. Pfizer projects that its 2023 revenue could range between $67 billion and $71 billion. It topped $100 million last year.
Addressing unmet needs in COVID-19 treatment market
Developing new and improved COVID-19 therapies could help mitigate this decline. By enhancing the efficacy of existing drugs like Paxlovid or creating new treatment options, Pfizer can address unmet needs in the market, improving drug compatibility and reducing side effects associated with COVID therapies.
While the COVID antiviral Paxlovid remains a popular drug, it can have negative drug-drug interactions. It has also been linked to rebound symptoms.
The Emory and Pfizer partnership aims to explore potential new therapies that could bolster Paxlovid’s efficacy.
Pfizer also plans to safeguard revenues by jacking up the cost of COVID-19 vaccines to private payers to between $110 to $130 per dose. The company has also said the new price reflects increased distribution costs and an expected shift from multidose vials to single-dose versions.
Financial implications of the Emory and Pfizer collaboration
The financial details of Emory’s partnership with Pfizer remain undisclosed. As part of the collaboration, the drugmaker will fund the Schinazi Laboratory and support the preclinical development of new compounds. If successful, Pfizer will retain exclusive rights to the most-promising clinical candidates.
Pfizer also recently reached a deal to acquire Seagen (Nasdaq: SGEN) for $43 billion.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery and Development, Infectious Disease
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