The Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) initiative has launched with up to $90 million in coordinated funding from the Gates Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and San Francisco’s Open Philanthropy, the three organizations announced Monday.

PAD aims to support development of Phase 2-ready, orally delivered, small-molecule drug candidates targeting pandemic threat viruses (including coronaviruses, paramyxoviruses and orthomyxoviruses) that can be “distributed quickly and equitably…

Moderna and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) have dosed the first participants in a Phase 1 trial of an experimental mRNA-based HIV vaccine (mRNA-1644) and boost candidate (mRNA-1644v2-Core), according to a joint press release issued last week.

The trial builds off a previous proof-of-concept study showing that a compound (developed by IAVI and Scripps Research) in mRNA-1644 generated a B-cell response in 97% of recipients. Both trials are part of a Gates Foundation-…

Vir Biotechnology announced last week that the Gates Foundation is giving the San Francisco-based biotech $10 million in grant funding and a $40 million equity investment to back the development of platform technologies that can produce broadly neutralizing antibodies to treat HIV and prevent malaria.

The new initiative will trial the “potential impact of broadly neutralizing antibodies engineered to inhibit viral replication and spread in people infected with HIV, as well as their…

The state of the fight: 

More European countries cautioned against Moderna’s vaccine for younger people over concerns about side effects.
  Generics companies are preparing to roll out their versions of Merck’s molnupiravir oral antiviral.
  Pfizer is in talks with 90 countries over supply deals for its antiviral candidate.



France and Germany recommended against the Moderna vaccine for people under 30 over concerns about…

Washington state-based startup Inventprise revealed Wednesday that it has won up to $90 million from the Gates Foundation to advance its pediatric 25-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine candidate (IVT-25) through Phase 2.

The company will make IVT-25 “available and accessible at an affordable price” to LMICs and make its proprietary “linker” platform technology available for future global health vaccine development, the press release said.

The state of the fight: 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest up to $120 million to accelerate access to Merck’s molnupiravir for lower-income countries.
  Valneva’s inactivated vaccine candidate generated superior neutralizing antibody titer levels to those induced by the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot, according to a Phase 3 readout.
  U.S. regulators cleared booster shots of the J&J and Moderna vaccines and OK’d mix-and-match booster regimens. Approved or…

The state of the fight: 

AstraZeneca and the E.U. reached a settlement following a monthslong legal battle over vaccine delivery.
  COVAX released an updated vaccine supply forecast that reduced the number of doses it expects to receive in 2021 by 25%.
  Cuba began vaccinating children as young as age 2 with its homegrown Abdala and Soberana vaccines. Approved or authorized vaccines

J&J’s adenoviral-vectored jab cut the risk of Covid-19 infection by about…

Moderna will license a therapeutic candidate for an ultra-rare disease to a newly launched nonprofit “with no upfront fees” and “without any downstream payments,” the Massachusetts-based mRNA specialist announced Tuesday.

In a joint press release, Moderna said seeking a high price for this drug “is not aligned with our values”—effectively contrasting itself with other pharmas that have held on to unused intellectual property or sought premium pricing for rare disease burdens.


British diagnostics developer Mologic announced Monday that it plans to transform from a for-profit company into a social enterprise through an acquisition worth at least $41 million. The Soros Economic Development Fund is leading the takeover with support from the Gates Foundation, according to Mologic’s press release.

Under a new name—Global Access Health—the firm aims to expand affordable access to medical technology in LMICs, including tests for diseases such as bilharzia, Covid-…

The state of the fight: 

Gavi inked a 550-million-dose supply deal with China’s CNBG and Sinovac.
  Bharat Biotech applied for WHO Emergency Use Listing of its inactivated vaccine.
  Cuba authorized BioFarmaCuba’s Abdala vaccine.


Approved or authorized vaccines

The U.S. FDA granted Priority Review to Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine in the companies’ bid for full licensure, the companies announced Friday.
While the press release noted a…