COVID-19 Resources for North Carolina Life Science Companies and Researchers

Given the role North Carolina's life science community may play in response to the COVID-19 virus, and the effect the outbreak may have on business operations, this page compiles resources and news relevant to local life science companies and researchers.

This page is actively being maintained by Life Science Intelligence at NCBiotech. If you have something to submit, please email research@ncbiotech.org, and follow NCBiotech on Twitter for updates.

Last update: April 2, 2020

North Carolina News

BioMedomics Teams with BD to Launch Rapid COVID-19 Test

Morrisville-based BioMedomics, a small diagnostics company supported by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has partnered with BD (Becton Dickinson & Co.) to launch its new blood test for COVID-19 that can detect the infection within 15 minutes.

Duke to Lead $50 Million Study of COVID-19 Prevention in Healthcare Workers

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has funded up to $50 million to evaluate hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a preventive drug for the novel coronavirus.

Brii Biosciences, Chinese Partners Set to Develop COVID-19 Antibodies

Brii Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company with a Durham presence, is collaborating with Chinese scientists to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize monoclonal antibodies to fight COVID-19.

NC Startup Awaits FDA OK for ‘Low-Cost’ COVID-19 Ventilator

As the world grapples with a shortage of ventilators for COVID-19 patients, a small North Carolina life science startup has designed a low-cost option. BioMedInnovations (BMI), headquartered outside Charlotte with a research lab in Research Triangle Park, hopes to get federal fast-track approval this week to manufacture and distribute its uniquely simple device to help people breathe.

Carolina Liquid Chemistries Introduces Tests for COVID-19, Norfentanyl

Carolina Liquid Chemistries – a Greensboro diagnostics and drug screening company – has introduced two new immunoassays to test for COVID-19 and for norfentanyl, the major metabolite of the synthetic opioid pain reliever fentanyl.

Triangle Business Journal, 3/30/2020

Novan explores potential COVID-19 treatment, raises $8 million

A Triangle company that's struggled to develop its lead asset has brought in $8 million through a new public offering as it unveils plans to explore potential applications of its platform in the fight against COVID-19.

Article behind paywall

Q2 Solutions, U of Texas Medical Branch Team Up to Help Find COVID-19 Vaccines

Q2 Solutions, a clinical trial laboratory services organization headquartered in Morrisville, has teamed up with the University of Texas Medical Branch to develop an assay for analyzing COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Grifols Developing Potential Treatments for COVID-19

Grifols, a global biotherapeutics company with more than 2,000 employees in North Carolina, will produce and test a potential COVID-19 therapy derived from the blood plasma of patients who have recovered from the coronavirus infection.

NC's Gilero Uses Ingenuity, 3D Printing to Expand COVID-19 Protective Equipment, Ventilators

Using 3D printers, Morrisville medical device manufacturer Gilero has begun a three-tiered response to the shortage of COVID-19 protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Duke Starts Novel Decontamination of N95 Masks to Help Relieve Shortages

Facing a critical shortage of N95 face masks that block the coronavirus, Duke Health research and clinical teams have confirmed a way to use existing vaporized hydrogen peroxide methods to decontaminate the masks so they can be reused.

Duke joins first national effort to test potential COVID-19 therapy

Adults with severe symptoms of the novel illness will have the opportunity to participate in Duke University Hospital’s test of an investigational treatment with an antiviral agent known as remdesivir. Remdesivir is an antiviral agent that was previously tested in humans with Ebola virus disease and has shown promise in animal studies against MERS and SARS, diseases that emerged from different strains of the coronavirus.

Heat Biologics, University of Miami Developing Quick Point-Of-Care COVID-19 Test

Heat Biologics, a publicly traded North Carolina biotechnology company, is adding a rapid point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic test to its product development pipeline. The new test is in addition to the provisional patent application the Morrisville company filed March 3 to apply its immune system activating technology to prevent and/or treat COVID-19. 

LabCorp Able to Perform 20,000 COVID-19 Tests Per Day 

LabCorp says it’s ahead of schedule in ramping up its capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests, and is now able to perform more than 20,000 of the tests per day. The Burlington-based company says it has doubled its COVID-19 testing capacity in one week at its labs in North Carolina, Arizona and New Jersey. 

NCCU Awarded Grant to Help Detect Biological Threats at the Border

North Carolina Central University has received a $330,000 grant to develop tools that help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security predict and spot risks at the border from biological threats such as COVID-19, African swine fever, and insect pests.

UNC Health deploys coronavirus test

A coronavirus test developed by Melissa Miller, director of the Clinical Molecular Microbiology Laboratory at the UNC School of Medicine, was being deployed by UNC Health on Monday, officials said. The test should help reduce some of the burden on North Carolina’s public health lab regarding testing, they said.

Medicago Vaccine Could Help Smoke Out Coronavirus

An ancient relative of tobacco, much maligned for the damage it has inflicted on public health, is key to a new vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus. Medicago – a Canadian company with a biomanufacturing facility in Durham –  has used it to produce an experimental plant-based vaccine for COVID-19, the coronavirus disease that has now reached a global pandemic level. 

BioMedomics Seeks FDA OK for COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostic

Morrisville-based BioMedomics, a small diagnostics company supported by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has developed a new test for rapidly detecting COVID-19, the coronavirus infection that is spreading rapidly throughout the world.

Biotech firm bioMerieux, which has an HQ in Durham, working on 3 coronavirus tests

France-based bioMerieux, which has a big Triangle connection, is the latest biotech firm developing tests it says will help health officials detect the coronavirus. The company, which focuses on in vitro (test tube) diagnostics, operates its headquarters for the US, Canada and Latin America in Durham.

CDC awards North Carolina $13 million to combat coronavirus

North Carolina is set to receive more than $13 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of a federal initiative to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

LabCorp is performing ‘several thousands’ of coronavirus tests per day to meet surge in demand

Burlington-based life science conglomerate LabCorp says it is now performing “several thousands” of coronavirus tests per day in the wake of an increasing number of new coronavirus infections in the United States. Meanwhile, it is rapidly adding new equipment and staff to create additional capacity for patients who should be tested across the country.

NC governor declares state of emergency as state deals with coronavirus

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Tuesday as leaders continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. The state now has 7 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, health officials said.

For Duke researchers – 'Every virus has an Achilles' heel'

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, researchers are racing to create a vaccine to eradicate it, including those at Duke University who have spent decades – funded by billions of dollars– studying vaccine development for some of the world's most pressing diseases.

Article behind paywall.

What We've Learned About Coronavirus: Infectious disease experts on the spread, the science and the scenarios for the virus

Three Duke infectious disease experts talked with the media Tuesday to discuss the origins and spread of COVID-19 and the global and U.S. response. Duke plans a series of briefings on the way the novel coronavirus is affecting the world.

Keep reading for highlights from the briefing.

An air-locked lab at UNC is leading research on cures for the coronavirus

For scientists working in laboratories across the world, their names usually won’t become well known outside of the subsection of people reading academic journals. But the outbreak of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has spread from China around the globe this year — has pushed researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill, specifically Dr. Ralph Baric, into the spotlight.

RTP firm BioMedomics says it has ‘quick and easy’ coronavirus test

BioMedomics, a medical diagnostic company based in RTP, says it has developed a novel coronavirus test that can turn around results in less than 15 minutes, potentially offering a fix to the current testing backlog.

LabCorp Launches New Test for Coronavirus

Burlington-based life science conglomerate LabCorp is the latest company to provide a test for COVID-19. This coronavirus has gained a foothold in more than 84 countries so far as it continues its unrelenting march across the globe.

 

NC Researchers, Companies Help Lead Coronavirus Battle

The rapid global march of the coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China several months ago could be slowed by researchers and biotech firms 7,770 miles away – in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.

Morrisville-based Heat Biologics joins global effort to discover coronavirus vaccine

The Morrisville-based biotechnology company announced today that it has formally launched a program within its wholly-owned subsidiary, Zolovax, Inc., to develop a vaccine using its immune activating gp96 vaccine platform for treating or preventing infection from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.