Therapeutic Pipeline for COVID-19

Facilitating Translation of Potential Candidates

Now Available On-Demand

Big pharma has been making a lot of headlines around developing COVID-19 treatments. However, it’s biotech companies and academic labs that are driving innovation in the life science and healthcare industries. The Therapeutic Pipeline for COVID-19 Virtual Meeting will feature topics and discussions relevant to those small and emerging biotech and academic labs researching solutions for COVID-19 treatments.

The Therapeutic Pipeline for COVID-19 Virtual Meeting is a one-day, live event featuring scientific presentations, speed networking sessions, and 1-hour face-to-face breakout discussions (space limited).


Thursday, September 17, 2020

The virtual program schedule is EST time zone. To check your local time, click here.

If you have questions for our speaker(s), please send them in advance to


Organizer’s Opening Remarks

Emily Le, PhD, Founder & CEO, Bioinsider

Chairperson’s Opening Remarks
Karl V. Voelkerding, MD, President, Voelkerding Consulting; former Professor, Pathology, University of Utah; Medical Director for Genomics and Bioinformatics, ARUP Laboratories
Overview of Current COVID-19 Therapeutics
Sina Bavari, PhD, CSO, Edge BioInnovation Consulting and Management; former CSO, Scientific Director US Army Medical Research Institute of infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)

COVID-19 Drug Repurposing Efforts
Marco Schito, PhD, Executive Director, CURE Drug Repurposing Collaboratory, Critical Path Institute (C-Path)

The CURE Drug Repurposing Collaboratory (CDRC), is a consortium of public and private partners convened by the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) in collaboration with the FDA and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Collaboratory will use the global case collection platform known as CURE ID, developed by FDA/NIH, to capture off-label use of existing drugs and to inform future randomized clinical trials and potentially informing drug labeling. Given the current unprecedented global public health emergency, CDRC is beginning with a pilot program focused on COVID-19.  While the ideal scenario is for patients to be enrolled in randomized clinical trials of COVID-19 treatments, this may not always possible.  Working with regulators and stakeholders, CDRC aims to streamline and coordinate the process for identifying and fully developing safe and effective treatments for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases that lack sufficient approved/recommended therapies. CDRC’s approach is unique in its global emphasis and availability in current resource-limited settings, its easy-to-use mobile case report form, and its inclusion of other information including clinical trials, journal and news articles, etc., making it a “one-stop shop” of information for clinicians, researchers, and regulators.

Neutrophil Targeting Peptides (NTPs) as Treatment for COVID-19
Joshua Schiffman, MD, CEO, Co-Founder, PEEL Therapeutics

COVID-19 affects millions of patients worldwide with clinical presentation ranging from isolated thrombosis to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring ventilator support. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) originate from decondensed chromatin released to immobilize pathogens and can trigger immunothrombosis. PEEL Therapeutics and University of Utah investigators studied the connection between NETs and COVID-19 severity and progression. NETs triggering immunothrombosis may, in part, explain the prothrombotic clinical presentations in COVID-19 and NETs may represent targets for therapeutic intervention. PEEL is developing first-in-class NET inhibitors that originate from anti-inflammatory neutrophil targeting peptides (NTPs) found in newborns during the first few days of life.

Sino Biological: A One-of-a-Kind Repertoire of Reagents and Assays for SARS-COV-2 Research  
Ruixin (Rachel) Hao, PhD, Technical Account Manager, Sino Biological

Sino Biological provides the world largest repertoire of reagents and assays for coronavirus research. The protein portfolio features a large panel of natural Spike variants (RBD) for SARS-COV-2, along with S and N proteins from common coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. Dozens of in-house developed monoclonal antibodies against the SARS-COV-2 antigen have been validated in paired ELISA and neutralization assays. These reagents have been used to manufacture FDA-approved antigen and antibody tests for COVID-19. The company offers one-stop service for SARS-COV-2 antibody discovery by offering antibody expression, affinity characterization, functional ELISA (ACE2:Spike binding), and pseudovirus infection assay.

Session Break

Please come camera ready for effective speed networking! You will have a few minutes to interact with people in your room before being directed to another room. Be ready to drop your LinkedIn profile or your email address in the chatbox for further follow-up.


Chairperson’s Opening Remarks
Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, CMO, IGM Biosciences  

Clinical Challenges and Engineering Therapeutic Solutions in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, CMO, IGM Biosciences  

As a pandemic respiratory virus, SARS-CoV-2 presents a number of challenges for
emerging therapeutics. From active immune invasion, infection in different
compartments and microenvironment within the host to mutations and variants, an
emerging understanding of the complexity of COVID19 virus and host biology
interactions are important characteristics of the viral infection. These
critical characteristics will be discussed, and an example of engineered
therapeutic IgM and IgA antibodies directed against SARS-CoV-2 will be
presented as one example of how different clinical challenges may be addressed.

Naturally Occurring Human B Cell Responses to SARS-CoV-2
James E. Crowe, Jr., MD, Director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Center; Professor, Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Ann Scott Carell Chair; Founder, IDBiologics  

We have studied the antibody and B cell response of humans with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. By isolating thousands of monoclonal antibodies, we identified clones with diverse reactivities and ultrapotent neutralization activity. The lead antibodies selected conferred complete protection in nonhuman primate model of infection.

Twist Biopharma: Synthetic DNA Technologies Enable Fast and Responsive SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Discovery and Optimization
Aaron K. Sato, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Biopharma, Twist Bioscience

Twist Biopharma provides end-to-end antibody discovery and optimization solutions including (1) highly diverse synthetic naïve antibody phage display libraries, (2) target class specific antibody libraries against difficult-to-drug targets, and (3) Twist Antibody Optimization (TAO) platform.  To highlight the power of this platform, our anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody discovery and optimization efforts will be presented. A panel of high affinity anti-SARS-CoV-2 S1 and anti-ACE2 antibodies have been identified that may have both therapeutic and/or diagnostic applications.

Session Break

Tackling COVID-19 with Human Neutralizing Antibodies
Davide Corti, PhD, SVP, Antibody Research, Humabs BioMed SA, a Subsidiary of Vir Biotechnology, Bellinzona, Switzerland

The development of effective countermeasures is paramount to curb the pandemic spread caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein promotes entry into host cells and is the main target of neutralizing antibodies. In this talk Dr. Corti will present data on the key structural and functional features of multiple classes of SARS-CoV2 neutralizing antibodies isolated from COVID-19 immune donors.  

Using Emerging Technology to Tackle SARS-CoV-2
Stefanie Kall, PhD, Applications Specialist, NanoTemper Technologies

Understanding the biophysical characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has proved crucial in the development of treatments and vaccines for the current pandemic. The relationship between these characteristics and disease mechanism is key for determining the best targets for drug and vaccine development, as well as better understanding of how to package and supply such treatments. NanoTemper Technologies provides several tools for investigating biophysical characteristics and interactions of biological molecules, which have proved themselves as valuable tools for researchers racing to find treatments for COVID-19.

Session Break

Approaches to Interfering
with the Virus Life Cycle

Chairperson’s Opening Remarks
Sina Bavari, PhD, CSO, Edge BioInnovation Consulting and Management; former CSO, Scientific Director, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)

Design and Development of Alpha-Ketoamide Inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease
Rolf Hilgenfeld, PhD, Professor, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Luebeck, Germany  

Linlin Zhang, PhD, Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Luebeck, Germany

We determined the crystal structure of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease in early February 2020 (Zhang et al., 2020a, Science 368, 409-412), and used this structural information to optimize the peptidomimetic alpha-ketoamide inhibitors that we had previously designed for other coronavirus main proteases such as those of SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, HCoV NL63, and the bat-CoVs HKU4 and HKU9 (Zhang et al., 2020b, J. Med. Chem. 63, 4562-4578). Our current lead inhibitor, compound 13b, has an extended half-life and can be administered to mice by subcutaneous injection or by inhalation. Twice-daily inhalation at 20 mg/kg results in good levels of the compound in the lung epithelial lining fluid. Systemic application at 50 mg/kg leads to good compound levels in several organs after 24 hrs. Further developments will be discussed.

Aerosolized Nanobodies for SARS-CoV-2 Passive Immunization
Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco

We describe the discovery and protein engineering of a potent nanobody neutralizer of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein with a unique mechanism of action. The combined stability and potency of this neutralizing nanobody may enable delivery of this potent neutralizer directly to the airway epithelia, potentially yielding a widely deployable, patient-friendly prophylactic and/or early infection therapeutic agent for SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Moderator: Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, CMO, IGM Biosciences


George Diaz, MD, Infectious Diseases Hospitalist, Medical Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship; Section Chief, Infectious Diseases, Providence Regional, Medical Center Everett

Laura Walker, PhD, CSO, Adagio Therapeutics; Director of Antibody Sciences, Adimab, LLC 

Joshua Schiffman, MD, CEO, Co-Founder, PEEL Therapeutics

Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco

Sina Bavari, PhD, CSO, Edge BioInnovation Consulting and Management; former CSO, Scientific Director, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)

End of Main Event and Transition to Breakout Discussions


Join our 1-hour breakout discussions for face time with our speakers and your peers. These are informal, moderated discussions featuring brainstorming and interactive problem solving—allowing participants from diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and experiences, and develop potential future collaborations around a focused topic. 

In order to ensure effective discussion, breakout discussions will have a maximum of 10-15 attendees per room and are on a first-come, first-served basis. 


Breakout Discussion 1: Drug Repurposing Efforts and Challenges for COVID-19
Moderator: Marco Schito, PhD, Executive Director, CURE Drug Repurposing Collaboratory 

  • Pharmaceutical industry challenges (compound availability, IP, collaborative models, use in higher risk populations)
  • Regulatory challenges (on patent/off patent, exclusivity, generics)
  • Data sharing challenges (data ownership, privacy, standards)

Breakout Discussion 2: How do You Beat COVID-19: Vaccine, Anti-Virals, or Treatment?
Moderator: Joshua Schiffman, CEO, Co-Founder, PEEL Therapeutics

  • Discuss pros/cons of each approach
  • Which approach have been the most successful for other viruses?
  • How is COVID-19 different than previous pandemics?
  • Which approach will be the most successful: vaccine, anti-virals, or treatment?

Breakout Discussion 3: A Focus on Drug Treatments for COVID-19 to Make it a Manageable and Survivable Disease

Co-Moderator: Rick Franklin, MD, PhD, CEO, Constant Therapeutics
Co-Moderator: Elizabeth Wagner, MS, MBA, COO, Constant Therapeutics

  • Why are treatments, not just vaccines, important to focus on for COVID-19?
  • How do you coordinate treatments based on distinct Mechanism of Actions?
  • How do you get support (financially, publicly, etc.) that is currently lacking?

Meet Our Speakers and Moderators

Sina Bavari, PhD

Daniel Chen, MD, PhD

Davide Corti, PhD

James E. Crowe, Jr, MD

George Diaz, MD

Rick Franklin, MD, PhD

Ruixin (Rachel) Hao, PhD

Rolf Hilgenfeld, PhD

Stefanie Kall, PhD

Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD

Aaron K. Sato, PhD

Marco Schito, PhD

Joshua Schiffman, MD

Karl Voelkerding, MD

Elizabeth Wagner, MS

Laura Walker, PhD