Carsten Thiel, President of European Commercialization, EUSA Pharma
By CorpGov Staff
In recent months, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the outbreak of a public health emergency of international concern – also known as the disease labeled COVID-19, or the Coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can be commonly found in people and numerous different animal species. The virus rarely spreads from animals to people, or vice versa.
However, COVID-19 reports do spread mixed signals to our world’s population. Some sources claim that the initial spread did indeed happen through animal to person contact through a large seafood and live animal market in China. Later on, word spread that patients diagnosed with the coronavirus were not exposed to animal markets, and that person to person spread is how the virus continued to thrive amongst populations.
The coronavirus appears to spread from person to person mainly through respiratory transmission, which makes it difficult to differentiate between a common cold and a COVID-19 symptom.
The most important signs and symptoms to look out for include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Such instances typically occur within two to fourteen days of exposure. Reports state that travel related COVID-19 is the common culprit – meaning, if you or your loved ones are traveling out of the country, you’re more likely to catch the disease.
Current status of coronavirus spread
The beginning of the coronavirus disease outbreak started in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It didn’t stop there, though.
Since December, 31 additional countries and territories including the United States have reported affected citizens. Worldwide, the current rate of associated deaths trailing back to the disease is 2,462. That was as of February 25, 2020.
Most cases found in the EU/EEA and the UK have found that an increasing number of coronavirus cases have been popping up with no defined chain of transmission – even though respiratory transmission is said to be how you can catch the disease.
Countries around the world are currently implementing extraordinary public health measures to ensure safety and wellbeing to all citizens. Some areas are suggesting and preparing themselves for isolation, with school and work cancellations to protect their personal health.
Right now, the percentage of further transmission of COVID-19 is technically considered high, especially in EU/EEA countries and the UK. Sporadic cases may continue to surprise even more countries in the near future.
What are pharma companies currently doing to help?
Efforts to develop a reliable vaccine for future prevention of the coronavirus is in the works – from different countries around the world.
Carsten Thiel, president of European commercialization for the biopharmaceutical company EUSA Pharma, says that the latest estimates indicate that eventually 40 – 60% of all people who are socially active will get infected. While he acknowledges that is a scary number, he says the real question is over which time or how many years that will happen.
“Chances are that the warmer temperature in May could ‘dry out’ the infection rate, but next winter would see a new outbreak,” said Thiel. “So it comes down to winning time to have more people immune and to have a vaccine commercially available.”
The United States of America
The United States is a part of the solution. President Donald Trump is planning to set up a sit down with pharmaceutical CEOs in the states soon. Trump claims, “We’ve asked them to accelerate whatever they’re doing in terms of the vaccine, absolutely.”
Thiel says there is clearly a lot of miscommunication and misperception related to the virus.
“Many people take appropriate action to prevent infection and thus the spreading of the virus. However some people are overreacting and are more scared than they should be — and others don’t seem to really care,” said Thiel.
Drug pricing and implementation into hospitals and pharmacies are just two of the topics that need to be tackled. Rapidly producing a preventative for hundreds of thousands of people across multiple countries to take will be the #1 challenge pharma companies will face in the near future.
Johnson & Johnson
President Trump is not the only leader responding to the outbreak of coronavirus, though. Johnson and Johnson recently announced that they’ll be working collaboratively with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to produce antiviral therapies and vaccines against certain strains of the virus – specifically 2019-nCoV. They’ll do so by screening their library for compounds with anti-2019-nCoV activity to see what relief they can provide to patients fighting off the virus and to people that may potentially acquire the virus.
Their additional game plan is to review all the coronavirus pathophysiology pathways to see what has and hasn’t worked in previously tested medications. From there, the trial and error will begin to create a lasting fighting mechanism to the virus.
As for Europe, APEIRON Biologics is currently working on a way to combat the coronavirus, too.
A little about APEIRON: APEIRON is a privately held European biotech company based in Vienna, Austria, and its primary focus is targeted towards the discovery and development of novel cancer immunotherapies. APEIRON received EU marketing approval for APN311 (Dinutuximab beta, Qarzib®) in May 2017 for the treatment of pediatric neuroblastoma patients and out-licensed global, exclusive rights for this product to EUSA Pharma Ltd.
Now, APEIRON leverages its proprietary master checkpoint blockade mechanism to enable the human body’s natural defense mechanisms to fight the tumor. APEIRON’s clinical lead program APN401 is a first-in-class autologous cellular therapy to strengthen immune reactivity via an intracellular master checkpoint, Cbl-b. APEIRON’s projects and technologies are bolstered by a strong patent portfolio. APEIRON’s development expertise is validated through partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.
APEIRON is working on a respiratory drug product to start pilot clinical trials to treat the coronavirus disease in China. APEIRON is known for attaining EU marketing approval for APN311, a product whose exclusive rights belong to EUSA Pharma Ltd.
Thiel says one of the main risks involved with the virus is its sudden spread.
“In Italy, this led to a desperate situation in primary healthcare, clinics, and hospitals, where nurses and doctors are overwhelmed, protective clothing is running out of stock, and there is just not enough capacity to handle so many patients.”
It is for this reason that many pharmaceutical companies have been working in tandem to quickly devise a vaccine.
“This is what brings an otherwise functioning healthcare system on its knees,” said Thiel.
To see an entire list of coronavirus treatments, vaccines, and drugs in the works right now, please visit https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/analysis/coronavirus-mers-cov-drugs/.
More on EUSA and Carsten Thiel
EUSA Pharma is a European-based, dynamic, global specialty pharmaceutical company created to bring innovative medicine to its patients. The passion and commitment behind EUSA’s mission enables them to consistently provide available medications to help patients live and embrace a better life – and Carsten Thiel is the President behind the operation.
Carsten Thiel has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 25+ years with focuses in oncology and rare disease, making him a highly experienced commercial professional in the department. Before his leadership role at EUSA, Thiel was a CEO of Abeana Therapeutics, Inc. at Alexion, and he was Head of Europe at Amgen.
Thiel Currently holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, making him an asset to the team at EUSA Pharma.
Like Thiel, EUSA also focuses on oncology and rare disease specifically. The professionals at the pharmaceutical company strive to be passionate for their patients’ wellbeing day-in and day-out, and experience, compliance, excellence, and global reach all keep that passion fully intact. The committed and dynamic management team is 100% dedicated to improving overall health.
Currently, rare diseases are affecting less than five people out of 10,000 within the general population. There are between 6,000 and 8,000 rare diseases in the world today, with approximately five rare diseases being mentioned in medical literature every single week. That’s reason enough for EUSA to want to make an impact in the field.
EUSA is now weighing in on the coronavirus and making valid attempts to create a vaccine and treatment mechanism. Even though COVID-19 is no longer a rare disease, pharmaceutical professionals over at EUSA Pharma don’t want it to continuously progress and effect more people’s lives around the world.
Action for the future
Determined action needs to be taken by pharmaceutical companies in all countries for the coronavirus to fully be pushed out of communities. Established pharmacy institutions like Johnson & Johnson and EUSA getting on board together to establish different aids and mechanisms will only get the world one step closer to a healthier planet.
“Slowing down the spreading of Covid is the best thing we can do to save more lives,” said Thiel.