Which Manufacturers Are Racing to Produce Ebola Drugs

Which Manufacturers Are Racing to Produce Ebola Drugs?

Oct. 20, 2014
In addition to Tekmira, Mapp Biopharmaceutical and Chimerix, which are increasing production of drugs that have been use to treat patients, other companies are looking around for potential useful compounds. 

Tekmira, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. and Chimerix Inc., are three companies that have provided experimental treatments to patients both in the West and in Africa, according to Peter Loftus and Betsy MacKay, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.  

Tekmira, whose drug is TKM-Ebola, has taken steps to increase production and waiting to hear if it is chosen for trails in West Africa. If that happens the company said it expects to have a sufficient supply.

Meanwhile Kentucky BioProcessing, owned by Reynolds American, is ramping up production of Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s compound ZMapp that was given to two American Ebola survivors.

Clincial trials of this drug could begin in West Africa, in January or February, according to Alan Magill, who is overseeing the Gates Ebola-related investments, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Another player is Chimerix, whose drug brincidofovir has been given to at least two Ebola-infected patients: Thomas Eric Duncan, a patient in Dallas who died; and Ashoka Mukpo, who is being treated in Nebraska.

Chimerix, which said it plans to begin a clinical trial “immediately” in Ebola-infected patients in the U.S. and Europe, said that it has an adequate supply of the tablets, and it plans to continue making the drug available on an emergency basis in the U.S. and Europe. The company is also working with the U.S. government and international organizations to figure out how to bring the drug to West African theater.

Other companies who haven’t been involved in Ebola researching are searching their inventories to see if any of the chemical compounds they possess, including experimental antivirals, would be effective. That includes Merck & Co. (IW 500/31), and CSL, a maker of plasma-based therapies, who said it is exploring whether it can develop a plasma treatment, at the request of the Gates Foundation.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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