Pfizer's chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten said the company is mulling a potential collaboration with BioNTech to develop vaccines for COVID-19 using BioNTech's mRNA-based drug development platform, as reported by Fidelity.
"We will share some of our thoughts with BioNTech also on what they do on COVID-19 and evaluate whether there are things that could merit to do together," he said. Pfizer already collaborates with BioNTech on the development of mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.
Moderna, which also focuses on mRNA-based therapies, has already developed an experimental coronavirus vaccine using a similar method to BioNTech andplans to begin clinical trials of its vaccine later this month.
Dolsten also gave more details about the company's efforts to develop potential anti-viral treatments for the virus. Pfizer's compounds use a different mechanism of action than Gilead Sciences' remdesivir to attack the virus, Dolsten said, with Pfizer's looking to attack the protease segment of the virus.
The protease "is one of the best drug targets in the viral sector," Dolsten said, adding "it has been one of the most effective for HIV and [hepatitis C virus] and our analysis confirmed that the COVID-19 protease target was very similar to one we had been working on for another virus."
Gilead's drug is focused on the polymerase target, Dolsten said, noting there were opportunities for Pfizer's compounds, if they are successful, to work in combination or sequentially with Gilead's.
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