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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Biocom Hosts First Session of COVID-19 Briefings Series

  • 2020-08-27T15:00:00.000+0000
  • California
  • Author: Jimmy Jackson

On August 21, elected officials and legislative staffers joined Biocom for the first webinar of our COVID-19 Briefing Series, bringing scientists and policy makers together. This session provided a broad view of industry efforts in fighting COVID-19, and discussed the unprecedented collaborations happening with academia, research institutions and commercial companies.

We were honored to have Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, a recovered COVID-19 patient herself, moderate the discussion. Assemblywoman Burke is an entrepreneur representing an ethnically and economically diverse district who has toured life science companies firsthand to see the complexities involved. Assemblywoman Burke shared her personal insight as someone who has been very conscientious during this pandemic. As the Assemblywoman said, “The hardest part for us in our family was not that we actually contracted COVID-19, but the harm we could have done to our loved ones around us…”

Also on the esteemed panel was Carl Garner, Ph.D., Vice President of Lilly Research Laboratories, Global Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Garner discussed Lilly’s efforts in monoclonal antibodies to attack the virus. One of the more promising candidates came from convalescent plasma, plasma taken from recovered COVID-19 patients.

Eric Hughes, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Development & Analytics Head, Global Development Unit Head, Immunology, Hepatology & Dermatology, and China Development Head at Novartis discussed Novartis’ efforts in the COVID-19 space, including the company’s work at the start of the pandemic to research whether some existing drugs could be repurposed to treat the inflammation caused by cytokine storm that has been a recurring issue for the most serious COVID-19 patients.

Both company speakers marveled at the level of cooperation that has seen by academic and research institutions, private companies and the government to come together to fight this virus. Both referred to this cooperation as “unprecedented.”

This was but the first in a planned series of webinars on aspects of the fight against COVID-19, and can be seen in its entirety here. Future sessions will focus specifically within individual topic areas, such as testing, vaccines, therapeutics, and plasma-based therapies. If you are interested in learning more about the next session or speaking opportunities, please contact Emily Cassel.