Federal government signs four contracts for the development of COVID-19 medicines
Bern, 13.12.2021 - The federal government has just signed contracts with four companies based in Switzerland for the development of drugs to treat COVID-19. These contracts are the result of the call for proposals launched by the federal government in the summer of 2021 as part of its Federal Funding Programme for COVID-19 Medicines. The contracts are worth around CHF 27 million. The new drugs are expected to be available by the end of 2022.
Following an amendment to the COVID-19 Act by the Swiss parliament last March, in May 2021 the Federal Council approved the creation of a funding programme to guarantee the public a safe and rapid supply of innovative medicines to treat COVID-19. It commissioned the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to implement the programme with the support of Innosuisse.
On the basis of selection criteria set out by the Federal Council, experts mandated by Innosuisse and the FOPH evaluated nine funding requests. In the end, and following the support for the COVID-19 Act shown in the popular vote on 28 November, the FOPH has decided to fund four projects from companies based in Switzerland. Contracts have been signed with:
- GeNeuro SA for the development of a monoclonal antibody to treat the long-term effects of COVID-19 (long COVID) in patients suffering from severe neuropsychiatric symptoms.
- Kinarus AG, for the development of an oral drug combination therapy with antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity, for all severities of COVID-19.
- Memo Therapeutics AG for the development of a monoclonal antibody to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections in patients at risk for a severe course of COVID-19, administered by inhalation or intravenously.
- Noorik Biopharmaceuticals AG for the development of an oral pulmonary vasodilator to prevent respiratory failure and reduce the need for mechanical ventilation in the event of hospitalisation due to COVID-19.
The funding programme will run for a limited period until the end of 2022. It aims to support the development of potentially important medicines in the fight against COVID-19. In exchange for this investment, the federal government will enjoy certain benefits in return, for example a first option to buy.
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