AbCellera wins Fast Company’s Innovative Team of the Year award

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AbCellera’s Pandemic Prevention Platform team brought the first COVID-19 antibody to clinical trials in under 90 days. Together with Eli Lilly and NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, AbCellera’s Pandemic Prevention Platform team combined microfluidics, data science, machine learning, bioinformatics, and genomics to bring the first COVID-19 antibody to clinical trials in under 90 days, a process that typically requires three to six years. In June Eli Lilly began two Phase 1 clinical trials of COVID-19 antibodies isolated by AbCellera. “People have pushed themselves to the very limits of their endurance in this race against the virus,” says AbCellera head of R&D Ester Falconer. Read Full Story

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Meet Kathrin Jansen, the woman leading Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine effort

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The rock star scientist has a track record of producing difficult vaccines against the odds. Pfizer has made an incredible announcement: Its COVID-19 vaccine looks like it is 90% effective at preventing the disease inside its clinical trial. It’s a remarkable number: In the last 10 years, flu vaccine efficacy rates have wobbled between 19% and 60%. Outside scientists are now keen to see the full data in order to validate the findings. In the meantime, many are rejoicing at the prospect of a better tool for fighting COVID-19. Read Full Story

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How Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine works: mRNA

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The vaccine uses a new, innovative form of biotechnology to make the body produce antibodies to protect itself against the virus. In January, as cases of the new, mysterious coronavirus were growing in China—but two months before the World Health Organization declared the disease a pandemic—a handful of small biotech companies began scrambling to develop vaccines using an as-yet-unproven technology platform that relies on something called messenger RNA, usually shortened to mRNA. One was Moderna, which completed its first clinical batch of a vaccine by February and launched human trials in March, faster than any other vaccine in history. Another was BioNTech, a German company that later partnered with Pfizer to make a vaccine that the companies now say has been proven highly successful in trials, reaching 90% effectiveness. Read Full Story

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Bill Gates says he’s ‘not optimistic’ COVID-19 vaccines will successfully complete trials before end of the year

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“There’s no case where we get much below the current death rate, which is about 500 deaths a day, but there’s a significant risk we go back up to the even 2,000 a day.” COVID-19 vaccine trials are well under way, but Bill Gates is not optimistic that phase III of these trials, which measures the efficacy and safety of a vaccine in a wide group of users, will be successful before the end of the year. Read Full Story

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4G Clinical is one of Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators

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The clinical trials company checks in at number eight on the list of 100. Small and nimble, clinical trials company 4G Clinical moves quickly to leverage technology to expedite medication for FDA approval. When the coronavirus hit, the team pivoted to focus on delivering drugs to step up clinical trials. “Starting in mid-March, we have been at the forefront of getting trials directly to people’s homes,” says founder and CEO David Kelleher. “When COVID-­19 hit, we acted fast.” Read Full Story

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AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has 79% efficacy in new U.S.-based trial

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The latest Phase III trial encompassed 32,000 participants, 21,583 of those receiving at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The beleaguered AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine got a big shot in the arm, so to speak, today with results of the latest clinical trial which showed the vaccine is 79% effective against the virus. Previous studies pegged the AstraZeneca vaccine with an efficacy of 67%. Best of all, the latest trials reconfirmed what earlier ones did: AstraZeneca’s vaccine is 100% effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization from COVID-19. Read Full Story

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Why a star of Netflix’s ‘Pandemic’ now wants everyone to focus on COVID-19 therapeutics

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A year ago, Dr. Jake Glanville’s efforts to create a universal flu vaccine were profiled in Netflix’s docuseries ‘Pandemic’. Today, he’s working on disrupting COVID-19 treatments. Last January, Netflix premiered the docuseries Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak . Under normal circumstances, it might’ve been of interest to a relatively niche audience. But at the time, it was becoming clear that the novel coronavirus had not been sufficiently contained in China and that without proper and enforced guidelines and protocols from other countries, the world was staring down a devastating public health crisis. Pandemic spent 12 days in the Netflix top 10 in the United States last March. Read Full Story

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