As the coronavirus pandemic rages, drug development is becoming harder than ever, if arguably even more important. What is the extent of the issue, and how can companies protect their pipelines?
The spread of coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, is putting entire countries under lockdown in Europe. Not only is the human cost of the disease staggering, but the pandemic is also damaging for businesses across the board. This is due to a number of factors, including restricted travel, building closures, and quarantines.
According to Pierluigi Paracchi, CEO of the Italian biotech Genenta Science, biotechs in Europe are also feeling the strain.
“All biotech companies are suffering a critical delay in preclinical activities,” he told me. “Labs are working at 20% of their capacity, and almost no new experiments start these days.”
Clinical-stage companies are also taking a big hit from the pandemic. Earlier this week, for example, the French company Sensorion’s Euronext Paris stock price tumbled by 30% when coronavirus set back a phase II trial of its hearing loss drug by around six months. Today, the Swiss biotech GeNeuro also postponed a phase II trial in multiple sclerosis for the same reason.
One reason for the delayed clinical trials is a refocusing of healthcare systems on the pandemic —