How close are we to a COVID-19 cure? A biotech VC perspective

“A viable therapeutic would dramatically change the tone of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving hope and a path to eradicating the virus, saving lives and livelihoods. Highlighted here is the incredible diversity of tools biotech has called in to the battle against coronavirus from decades of work in the lab and in the clinic.”

Tim Xu, MD, Investment Associate

An effective treatment for COVID-19 would be a game-changer. With patients crowding hospitals around the world, drugs to reduce the burden on ICUs could save thousands of lives. Equally importantly, as the infection nears its peak in several Western countries, a treatment could be the safety net needed to help reopen economies where COVID-19 has drastically changed our way of life. Indeed, short of a treatment or vaccine, COVID-19 could become the new way of life as a potentially cyclical pandemic that – unlike the seasonal flu or even SARS – appears to be unrestrained by warmer climate at its current scale.

The response from biotech and big pharma has been swift and immense. Umer Raffat and Jonathan Miller at Evercore ISI recently put together a list of at least 250 companies and academic groups working on drugs and vaccines. Clearly the brightest minds in biotech are working on this – but nearly two months into the pandemic, is there a breakthrough in sight?

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