19. March 2020 | 11:25 CET
BioNTech, Gilead, Memphasys - modern science and COVID and IVF
People around the world are worried about the extent of the consequences associated with the spread of the corona virus COVID-19, and politicians and the economy are called upon to deal with the situation appropriately so that the loss of life and financial damage to the citizens can be kept to a minimum. Medical experts are now working intensively to ensure that active substances for prevention and therapy are tested and made ready for the market.
time to read: 2 minutes by Mario Hose
Development of a vaccine
The German biotech company BioNTech is working with renowned partners in China, Europe and the USA to develop a vaccine for the immunization and prevention of COVID-19 infections. A clinical trial is scheduled to start as early as April 2020. The company is pursuing the goal of making a vaccine available worldwide as quickly as possible. For this reason, BioNTech says it is "in close contact with various regulatory and scientific authorities around the world and is in ongoing discussions with other research institutions."
Investigational compound for corona viruses
US company Gilead Science is also working with global health authorities to counteract the outbreak of the new type of COVID-19 by using the investigational compound Remdesivir. Remdesivir has shown activity against MERS and SARS in animal studies, which are also corona viruses and show structural similarities to COVID-19. Since it is an experimental drug that has only been used in a small number of patients with COVID-19, Gilead is still in the early stages of development with Remdesivir.
Multi-billion growth market IVF
The Australian company Memphasys focuses on the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) market for humans, which, according to Allied Market Research, currently has a global volume of USD 13.7 billion and is expected to grow to USD 26.4 billion by 2026. Memphasys focuses on the key element of a successful pregnancy for parents who want to have children: the quality of the used sperm. Sperm quality is declining worldwide, with one in three men over the age of 40 having problems with sperm fertility. About half of all infertility cases have poor sperm as an identifying factor.
Separation of sperm
Memphasys has developed an innovative device to separate and select sperm more quickly and effectively than current methods. The device called FELIX uses electric fields and membranes to sort the sperm according to quality and size. According to Alison Coutts, CEO of Memphasys, the better sperm has a greater net negative charge compared with faulty specimens.
Launching in Q3 2020
The company's next step is to support physicians in less regulated markets so that they can use the device commercially after completion of verification and validation, which is expected in mid 2020. At the same time, the company is working to obtain marketing approval from key regulatory authorities in Australia, the United States and Europe. While approval is a multi-year and costly process, Memphasys plans to sell early in countries with lighter regulation. These initial markets could include Japan, India, New Zealand and Canada.