The National Institutes of Health and its foundation announced that, in collaboration with multiple biopharmaceutical companies and government agencies, they will develop an international strategy for coordinating research responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The collaboration includes the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA and the European Medicines Agency, according to a news release.
In the partnership, labeled “Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines” (ACTIV), the entities intend to develop a framework for prioritizing vaccine and drug candidates, streamline clinical trials, coordinate regulatory processes and/or leverage assets to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics.
“We need to bring the full power of the biomedical research enterprise to bear on this crisis,” NIH director Dr. Francis Collins said in the release. “Now is the time to come together with unassailable objectivity to swiftly advance the development of the most promising vaccine and therapeutic candidates that can help end the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
Through the coordination handled by the NIH Foundation, ACTIV aims to provide infrastructure, subject matter expertise and funding to identify, prioritize and facilitate promising vaccine candidates into clinical trials.
“COVID-19 is the most significant global health challenge of our lifetime, and it will take all of us working together as a global community to put an end to this pandemic,” Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) chief scientific officer & vice chairman of the executive committee Dr. Paul Stoffels said. “We will need to harness the best ideas from multiple stakeholders, including governments, regulatory authorities, academia, NGOs and industry to stop COVID-19. At Johnson & Johnson, we are committed to working closely with FNIH, IMI and are part of other important consortia to speed solutions to stop this pandemic.”
ACTIV is slated to include four fast-track focus areas, including standardizing and sharing preclinical evidence, prioritizing and accelerating the evaluation of therapeutic candidates, maximizing clinical trial capacity and effectiveness and advancing vaccine development through various means.
“This powerful public-private partnership will focus and expedite R&D activities required to combat COVID-19,” NIH Foundation president & executive director Maria Freire said. “Working in lock-step, the public and private sectors will maximize the chances of success and provide a roadmap to pre-emptively manage future threats.”