Technology and Deals Related to the Ongoing COVID-19 Health Crisis

Mar 27, 2020 | Blog


Issue #53. Friday, March 27
Hello Everyone,

For this edition of the Zoic newsletter, we’ll be looking exclusively at technologies and potential deals related to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. We are continuing our activities and see an increase in areas that we have been monitoring for some time, including lab and at-home diagnostics, and blood therapies.-Neal

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In case you missed it – ONC Bio’s, Steve Reed, discusses the race for a COVID-19 vaccine.
An Infected Market Takes a Turn For the Worst: Guest Steve Reed from ONC Bio
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Photo taken by an ER nurse in Morristown, NJ

Technology and Deals Related to the Ongoing COVID-19 Health Crisis

Diagnostic tests are finally starting to come out in numbers large enough to meet potential demand. Almost every molecular diagnostic company, through the FDA emergency use pathway, is now manufacturing test kits. Each of these test kits can be run on each company’s existing machines, which are common in testing labs, hospitals, and some clinics. These technologies are adaptable enough to test for a new virus, just as long as the RNA sequence is known. Read More

The main barrier to these kits being used is the requirement for the testing machines, which are large, expensive and require trained usage. Although there is some benefit to reducing the detection time, such as in tests just emerging, the most significant barrier is the ability the process many samples at the same time. Tests from companies such as Roche that can use highly automated machines such as the Cobas series can help keep up with demand, especially now that we are seeing hundreds of cases each day. Read More

A few companies have also tried to offer at-home testing kits, where a sample is gathered at home and sent to a testing lab. That may have some benefit especially to increase coverage. However, what we are seeing is a hold on these kits from the FDA. The concern is probably to do with sample handling, which is not controlled at home, and overloading capacity with single-patient tests. Lab time with these single-person tests is about equivalent to a test that can dozens (or more) people, so those are still much more efficient. Read More

There are a number of treatment candidates going through trials for treating COVD-19 at the moment. Most of these are drugs already approved for other indications or have some human data. This makes the approval process faster than a brand new drug. Even now, there is an experimental treatment being tried, where plasma from recovered patients are being transferred to ill ones. This has been tried for other infectious diseases, and even in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) transfers to accelerate wound or bone healing. Platforms like these are even more important in situations like now, as they can be adapted to new applications, especially if they have been thought of before. Read More

On the device side, there is now a well-known need for ventilators. For those critically ill, there are also devices that can complement this need, such as extracorporeal blood oxygenation devices. Blood from the body is circulated outside and oxygenated. There is even a clinical trial for an inhaled nitric oxide system to supplement this in the critically ill, nitric oxide having a higher oxygen content. Read More
What We’re Reading
What $2T in stimulus does—and doesn’t do—for private markets
Stanford SIR
Civic health and social distancing
 Fast Company
Can’t go to the doctor? You already own a powerful medical device
 No Mercy / No Malice
Corona and legacy

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