The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) hosted a virtual summit last week to foster collaboration among government agencies and biopharmaceutical innovators to eradicate coronavirus (COVID-19).
The two-day virtual event allowed companies working on treatments and vaccines to come together to discuss challenges and opportunities with government officials and other stakeholders.
White House Response Coordinator, Ambassador Deborah Birx was in attendance, as was Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood said the goal is to minimize redundancies and maximize cooperation and collaboration.
“From the beginning of this crisis, it was clear,” Greenwood said. “BIO is the organization that’s best constituted and positioned to organize and connect the biopharmaceutical industry so that we can accelerate the research and development and coordinate that development in response to this crisis.”
George Scangos, CEO of Vir Therapeutics, was appointed to oversee the organization’s efforts to foster collaboration across the biopharmaceutical industry. Scangos said biotechnology companies are “offering to do what they can to contribute their technologies, their compounds, whatever it is they have” to fight the virus.
According to a recent survey, more than 45 BIO member companies are working to address coronavirus, and more than 20 have products in various stages of development. BIO is an international trade association representing more than 700 biotechnology companies.
Birx spoke about the need to advance diagnostics to the point of care while Kadlec called for a “whole of nation” approach to overcome this epidemic.
“I think, based on the work you are going to do and your ability to collaborate with one another, positions us not only for the moment, but for the next six months, the next year, and the next 18 months,” Birx said. “We are really thrilled about the work you are doing.”