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Coronavirus Outbreak Sparks Renewed Interest in Combatting Infectious Diseases

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact. Globally, infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis C and recently the novel (new) coronavirus (named "2019-nCoV") put major strains on public health. However, infectious disease therapeutics are used to constrain the growth of these diseases, as these drugs can act through the host's defense system and directly target the malicious pathogen. Overall, the growth of this market is influenced by various major factors, such as the increasing occurrence of infectious diseases, the growing use of direct-acting anti-viral, growing healthcare awareness, increasing government funding in developing countries and a growing geriatric population. In addition, the public is now more aware of symptoms associated with various diseases than ever before, aiding early diagnosis rates among individuals and providing growth opportunities for the market. And, in 2019, the Global Infectious Disease Therapeutics Market size was worth USD 105.13 Billion; it is now estimated to reach USD 154.18 Billion by the end of 2024, while a growing potential of 7.96 % during the forecast period 2019 – 2024, according to Market Data Forecast. Q BioMed Inc. (OTC: QBIO), Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIR), NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE: NNVC), Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO), Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA)

Among the avalanche of information concerning the recent outbreak of the 2019-nCoV, is the morsel from January 30th, 2020: The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization agreed that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Representatives of the Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China reported on the current situation – as of late last week, there were 7,711 confirmed and 12,167 suspected cases throughout the country. Of the confirmed cases, 1370 are severe and 170 people have died. 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital. Meanwhile, in the United States, the CDC has announced that it is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and that the first instance of person-to-person spread with this virus has been confirmed in the U.S on January 30th, 2020. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. However, it is only rarely that animal coronaviruses can infect people and subsequently spread throughout the population, but such a list includes MERS, SARS, and now the 2019-nCoV.

Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: QBIO) just announced breaking news this morning that, "its research partner Mannin Research Inc. (Mannin) is developing new therapeutics to treat a variety of vascular diseases, including the new coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China, with a rapidly rising number of deaths and confirmed cases. Coronavirus has been declared a Global Health Emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Mannin is developing a unique set of therapeutics that target a variety of vascular diseases. Its lead research platform targets the activation of the Angiopoietin-Tie2 signaling pathway. While Mannin is not generating a vaccine against infectious diseases, it is developing a new class of therapeutics that may increase the survival rate of patients by reducing endothelial dysfunction and severity of infectious and other diseases through enhancement of host-directed therapeutic response.

"We are working closely with our technology research partner Mannin to develop a potential adjunct treatment for various infectious diseases like the coronavirus. These types of outbreaks are not uncommon. H1N1, SARS, Ebola, pneumonia, influenza and others all can cause vascular leakage and respiratory distress in patients, which can be fatal in the most severe cases," stated Q BioMed CEO Denis Corin.

Dr. George N. Nikopoulos, President and CEO of Mannin, "Mannin's research team and collaborations in Canada, Germany, and the United States, are working to develop novel drugs to treat vascular leakage and endothelial dysfunction, which is common in severe cases of influenza, as well as in the current coronavirus outbreak. Seeing the potential to make positive impact upon patients' lives, drives our team to strive further each day."

In September 2019, the German state of Saxony awarded Mannin approximately a US $7.7 million grant to advance its novel therapeutics, including drugs and biologics that reduce endothelial dysfunction and loss of endothelial barrier integrity, which are central to the pathophysiology of viral and bacterial infections resulting in acute and severe lung injury. Recently, Mannin submitted a funding application to the Small Business Technology Transfer Grant administered by the U.S. National Institutes of Health to investigate specific applications of Mannin's therapeutic platform.

About Q BioMed Inc. - Q BioMed Inc. is a biotech acceleration and commercial stage company. We are focused on licensing and acquiring undervalued biomedical assets in the healthcare sector. Q BioMed is dedicated to providing these target assets the strategic resources, developmental support, and expansion capital needed to ensure they meet their developmental potential, enabling them to provide products to patients in need‏. Please visit http://www.QBioMed.com and sign up for regular updates.

Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIR), a clinical-stage immunology company focused on immune approaches to treating and preventing serious infectious diseases, is issuing the following in response to inquiries from multiple academic, government, investor, and media stakeholders. Vir is working to rapidly determine whether its previously identified anti-coronavirus monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) bind and neutralize 2019-nCoV, also referred to as "Wuhan coronavirus." "We have a library of multiple fully-human mAbs that bind and neutralize coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS," said Herbert "Skip" Virgin, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Vir. "These mAbs were discovered using our antibody platform that identifies mAbs from survivors of an infection. Some of these mAbs are able to neutralize zoonotic coronaviruses, and we believe may have the potential to treat and prevent Wuhan coronavirus. We are also exploring the isolation of new mAbs specific for this virus." In addition to Vir's mAb efforts, its scientists are planning to apply whole genome CRISPR-based screening capabilities (Vir's innate immunity platform) to identify the host receptor that allows Wuhan coronavirus infection. This may allow additional approaches to address this rapidly emerging public health concern.

NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE: NNVC) confirmed last week public disclosures in articles by various industry journals and other articles, that it is working on developing a treatment for the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, or the Wuhan coronavirus. "We have already initiated a program for developing a treatment for the 2019-nCOV," said Anil R. Diwan, PhD, President and Executive Chairman of the Company, adding, "Our platform technology enables possibly the most rapid pathway for new drug development against viral diseases. Of course, we will need support from governmental and international agencies such as the US CDC, WHO, and Chinese CDC to successfully develop these treatments, and, if developed, to get them to the patients in the fastest possible time. At this time, the Company does not have a collaboration with any of these agencies, and we have not been contacted by any of these entities or asked to develop a treatment for this virus. We had collaborations with the CDC and USAMRIID in the past. The Company intends to pursue a relevant collaboration for testing of our drug candidates soon." The new 2019-nCoV is known to be closely related to the SARS-CoV of 2002-2003 epidemic. In fact, it has been shown to use the same cell surface receptor as SARS-CoV, namely ACE2. "We have already found some lead candidate ligands in our chemical library that can bind to the SARS-CoV spike protein in the same fashion as it binds to the cognate receptor, ACE2, using molecular modeling tools," explained Dr. Diwan, adding, "We believe this means we may already be significantly ahead in developing a potential treatment for the new Wuhan virus."

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) announced last week that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has awarded Inovio a grant of up to USD 9 Million to develop a vaccine against the recently emerged strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This initial CEPI funding will support Inovio's preclinical and clinical development through Phase 1 human testing of INO-4800, its new coronavirus vaccine matched to the outbreak strain. CEPI previously awarded Inovio a grant of up to USD 56 Million for the development of vaccines against Lassa fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), also caused by a coronavirus. Richard Hatchett, CEPI's CEO, said, "Given the rapid global spread of the 2019-nCoV virus the world needs to act quickly and in unity to tackle this disease. Our intention with this work is to leverage our work with Inovio on the MERS coronavirus and rapid response platform to speed up vaccine development."

Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) is a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Recently the Company announced a new collaboration to develop an mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). "Moderna's commitment to global public health is aligned with CEPI's vision of creating a world in which epidemics are no longer a threat to humanity," said Richard Hatchett, M.D., CEO of CEPI. "We are pleased with the pace of our combined response to the emerging threat of the novel coronavirus. Through our partnership with Moderna and the NIH, we hope to speed the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus and help to alleviate the burden of disease."

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