Biodefense Readiness and Emerging Research on COVID-19 Treatments Discussed With Legislative Offices and Bio-Industry Leadership

ANN ARBOR, Mich. & WASHINGTON--()--In a collaborative effort with state bioscience leaders from around the country, MichBio held a webinar today discussing the state of biodefense readiness, emerging treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, and the path to approval and mass production of essential therapeutic, diagnostic, and vaccine products in response to the ongoing pandemic.

The webinar, which had 138 participants including representatives from more than 60 federal and state legislative offices, government affairs representatives and bioscience organizations from around the nation, featured presentations from:

  • Rick Bright, Ph.D. - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Kate Broderick, Ph.D. - Senior Vice President, R&D Pharmaceuticals and nCoV Project Lead, Inovio Pharmaceuticals
  • Rick Nettles, M.D. - Vice President US Medical Affairs, Janssen Infectious Diseases, Johnson & Johnson
  • Joshua Trotta- Senior Director, Genetic Sciences, Thermo Fisher Scientific

In his presentation, Dr. Bright discussed the accelerated timeline in the development of vaccines in the case of an emergency like the ongoing pandemic. He noted that identifying and understanding a new pathogen, creating and validating treatments for that new pathogen, and then producing and distributing those treatments at the scale required to be efficacious in those most in need is typically “a ten to twenty year process that we (responding organizations), while recognizing the importance of every step in the process, are asked to condense into one year or less when facing an emergency like the Coronavirus.”

“That ten-to-twenty fold reduction in timeline,” adds Stephen Rapundalo, Ph.D and President and CEO of MichBio, “requires a coordinated response at all levels of the industry, engagement of organizations that would not typically respond to such threats, and ground-breaking innovation at every step in the process.”

Such innovation is coming from places like Inovio Pharmaceuticals with Dr. Broderick that is leaning on its experience combatting MERS to accelerate vaccine trials, Johnson & Johnson with Dr. Nettles that is using its background in vaccine creation for Zika and Ebola, among other viruses, to repurpose their existing platform for COVID-19, and Thermo-Fisher Scientific with Joshua Trotta that is using innovative diagnostic tests to learn more about SARS-CoV-2 to aid in the development of vaccine and treatment candidates.

To date, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has reviewed over 1800 therapeutic, diagnostic, or vaccine submissions and is working to accelerate development through collaborative partnerships and financial support of the most promising candidates. That number continues to grow daily as organizations throughout the nation continue research – new submissions can be made to

Those interested in viewing the webinar in its entirety can do so by registering for the free recording here. (

The webinar was made possible through a collaboration with:

  • BioCom – The Life Sciences Association of California
  • BioNJ – The Bioscience Industry Association of New Jersey
  • CLSA – The California Life Sciences Association
  • HINJ – The Health Care Institute of New Jersey
  • MichBio – The Michigan Bioscience Industry Association
  • Life Sciences PA – The Pennsylvania Life Science Industry Association

For more information on MichBio visit

MichBio is the trade association committed to driving growth in Michigan's biosciences industry and its many sectors, including agri-biotech, food and nutrition, bio-based technologies and renewable chemicals, industrial and environmental biotech, medical devices and technologies, pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare, diagnostics and research products, testing and research services, and clinical research. MichBio members include bioscience companies, academic and research institutions, bioscience service providers, and related organizations. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @MichBio.


Alisha Brown
Director, Marketing and Communications
734.527.9147 |

Release Summary

Biodefense Readiness and COVID-19 Emerging Treatments and Vaccines Discussed in Webinar with Legislators and Bio-Industry Leadership


Alisha Brown
Director, Marketing and Communications
734.527.9147 |