Fierce Biotech's Top 10 stories of 2020—COVID, COVID and more COVID

“Lockdown” has been named the Collins Word of the Year 2020. At Fierce Biotech, the word our team has been writing the most is, in fact, not even a word, but an abbreviation: COVID-19.

Spelled out, this is COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (not, as some have suggested, the nineteenth iteration of the disease), and is the formal name given to the now global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-02.

I will personally be very happy when I need not write this particular series of letters and numbers anymore, and I’m sure you all will, too.

But in 2020, COVID-19 was the name of the game in biopharma, and unsurprisingly, every single one of our Top 10 stories of the year was focused on the disease, from vaccines to treatments and, in a weird twist, one story about a COVID-19 biotech CEO who left the company shortly after meeting U.S. President Donald Trump.

Most of our best-read stories come from earlier in the year, when the first wave of COVID-19 was hitting the Americas and Europe hardest. Four of the Top 10 centered on R&D updates for Gilead Sciences' repurposed Ebola drug remdesivir, the first COVID-19 antiviral allowed to be given to patients, though with fairly limited efficacy.

Since then, the main focus has shifted to vaccines, with Moderna and AstraZeneca’s efforts and gossip the most read, though it was Pfizer and partner BioNTech that in the end got the first emergency use authorization, with an OK first in the U.K. swiftly followed by Canada and then the U.S.

We also saw a lot of interest in antibody treatments for the disease, most notably Regeneron’s cocktail, which also nabbed an emergency OK in the fall.

As we move into 2021, COVID-19 will still dominate here at Fierce Biotech, but we should take heart. Science can and is solving the pandemic, and the swift funneling of cash, expertise and research into the life science industry will pull us out of this annus horribilis.