AbbVie pens $30M Harvard University viral pact with coronavirus in the crosshairs

Harvard Medical School
(timsackton/CC BY-SA 2.0)

AbbVie and Harvard University have signed up to a new $30 million early-stage infectious disease pact with coronavirus and hemorrhagic fever viruses two key targets of the deal.

AbbVie will stump up the cash over three years and additional “in-kind support” that taps its scientists, expertise for collaborative research and early-stage development efforts.

These will be focused on a series of infectious disease areas and potential therapies including antibodies and small molecules against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, as well as the coronavirus family it comes from.

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Back in June, AbbVie also teamed up with cancer and inflammation biotech Harbour BioMed, alongside Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center, which are now working together to develop a new antibody to both prevent and treat COVID-19.

This comes after AbbVie’s HIV med Kaletra (Aluvia), a combination of antiviral drugs lopinavir and ritonavir, failed across the board in a recent 199-patient clinical trial. It didn’t top standard of care at improving clinical symptoms, extending life span or cutting viral shedding in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.

It is now betting on an experimental and partnered approach toward tackling viruses.

“A key element of having a strong R&D organization is collaboration with top academic institutions, like Harvard Medical School, to develop therapies for patients who need them most,” said Michael Severino, M.D., vice chairman and president of AbbVie.

“There is much to learn about viral diseases and the best way to treat them. By harnessing the power of collaboration, we can develop new therapeutics sooner to ensure the world is better prepared for future potential outbreaks."

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