Pan-coronavirus oral treatment in the works for Novartis

Novartis announces development of a pill that could be effective against all coronaviruses.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company announced the development of an oral treatment that targets a wide array of coronaviruses instead of just targeting the one that causes COVID-19. Novartis aims to play a more direct role in the development of COVID-19 therapies with their pan-coronavirus treatment. The company had previously conducted their own COVID-19 clinical trials to no avail, “Now I would have loved for some of our own clinical trials to have worked out, but they didn't. I mean, that's part of the deal," noted Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO. The company has played a supporting role in fighting the pandemic by manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for their competitors. In October the pharmaceutical announced its plans to expand their support in the manufacturing of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think we as a sector have collaborated extremely well to ultimately be the industry that enabled this pandemic over time to eventually be under control,” Narasimhan stated. Last year the pharmaceutical made an agreement with Molecular Partners to develop two DARPin-based therapeutics as possible COVID-19 therapies. Novartis and Molecular Partners aim to publish new data readout for one of their two investigational COVID-19 treatments in January. Novartis is confident that they will deliver a 4% or more annual revenue growth until 2026, banking on multi-billion dollar sales from their approved arthritis and psoriasis treatments as well as their experimental drugs. Narasimhan said, “I think in order to have companies invest in the long run for pandemic preparedness, there has to be a reasonable economic benefit to the companies.”