George Scangos to lead BIO’s efforts against coronavirus

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Rabbitti)
(Image: Getty/Rabbitti)

Related tags Coronavirus George Scangos Vir Biotechnology Wuxi biologics Vaccine

The ex-Biogen CEO will coordinate the biotech organization’s response to the virus.

On Friday​, Reuters revealed that George Scangos, who led Biogen between 2010 and 2016, would head up BIO’s collective effort against the coronavirus.

Scangos is the current CEO of Vir Biotechnology, which only last week announced that it had signed a partnership agreement with WuXi Biologics for the development of a treatment for the virus​.

Vir Biotechnology stated that it had identified a number of potential monoclonal antibody therapeutics, which it developed from patients who had survived the SARS outbreak and believes could potentially confer protection against the latest virus outbreak.

BIO plans to harness the expertise of Scangos, as head of the biotech, to provide leadership to its members, with a number of companies within the organization having begun research on potential therapeutics.

The outbreak has already had an impact on the organization, after it was forced to cancel the BIO Asia conference that was due to take place next week.

While companies that are aiding in the development of potential therapeutics for the virus have also been caught up in its spread, with WuXi Biologics forced to cancel face-to-face meetings​ due to its presence in China.

According to Reuters, Scangos said, “The role is still evolving, but it is clear someone needs to pick up the reins. It is only natural for us here at Vir to take on a leadership role.”

Scangos has been CEO at Vir Biotechnology for the last three years, previously working as CEO of Biogen and Exelixis.

Vir Biotechnology has specialized in developing treatments for infectious diseases. Its pipeline of potential treatments includes treatments for hepatitis B, influenza, HIV, and tuberculosis, as well as now working on a treatment for the coronavirus.

Rather than take one approach to combatting infectious diseases, the biotech has established four separate platforms: an antibody platform, a T cell platform, an innate immunity platform, and siRNA platform.

It is partnered with Alnylam on its lead candidate, VIR-2218, which is an siRNA treatment for hepatitis B.

As the virus continues to spread globally, US and European industry is playing its part in repelling the threat.

On government scale, the European Commission also announced today that it has set up a coronavirus response team.​ This arrived several days after US vice president, Mike Pence, had been appointed as head of the White House coronavirus task force.

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