On July 20, seven pharmaceutical companies announced the formation of a new international alliance to help prepare the world for the next pandemic – and develop new antivirals before we need them.
The International Readiness for Preventing Infectious Viral Disease (INTREPID) Alliance includes seven global pharmaceutical companies: AbbVie, Amgen, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Roche, and Takeda.
The INTREPID Alliance is dedicated to developing 25 new antiviral therapies, which will potentially be ready for phase 2/3 clinical trials in 2026. The companies are aligned with the 100 Days Mission, the International Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat’s goal to have interventions ready within 100 days of the next pandemic.
The alliance comes as the U.S. government is working to reauthorize critical pandemic preparedness legislation, highlighting the global importance of preparing for the next pandemic – before it’s too late.
What is the INTREPID Alliance?
The primary purpose of the INTREPID Alliance is to speed up the process of finding and developing new treatments for potential pandemic-grade illnesses, like COVID-19.
Learning from the lessons of the COVID pandemic, the alliance’s goal is to improve countermeasures, diagnostics, vaccines, and antiviral treatments.
INTREPID will publish the initial list of potential antiviral compounds later this year and use it to guide research and funding for new projects. The idea is to find the strongest candidates that can really make a positive impact during future pandemics.
“Bridging the gap between pathogens with the greatest pandemic potential and the antiviral solutions we need will require innovation, commitment and collaboration across sectors and the INTREPID Alliance aims to deliver against this goal,” said Executive Director of Global Health at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (IFPMA) and Chair of the INTREPID Alliance Board.
Antiviral treatments are medications that help the body to fight off viruses, by shortening its lifespan and easing symptoms.
INTREPID is focusing on small-molecule antivirals due to how easy they are to mass produce, and how well they can treat viruses.
“Therapeutics are vital in the fight against pandemics, and we believe the world needs a strong armamentarium of therapeutics in the pipeline ready to tackle future pandemic threats,” said Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine. “By establishing a listing of promising antiviral candidates, the INTREPID Alliance can have a real impact in ensuring we are better placed to respond to the next pandemic.”
While vaccines are critically important to pandemic preparedness, antivirals are also essential to reducing the severity of pandemics and the number of fatalities. Additionally, they help impede the emergence and transmission of new virus variants that can evade vaccines and neutralizing antibodies.
The 25 antivirals being tested include solutions for treating COVID-19 and many other high-risk respiratory viral infections.
“Collaboration is key for science to move fast. This was one of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. By placing collaboration at the heart of the INTREPID Alliance, I believe we will be well-equipped to respond more rapidly to future pandemics,” concluded Sujata Vaidyanathan, Development Unit Head for In-Market Brands and Global Health at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Several members of the INTREPID Alliance are members of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).