Novartis in talks on helping make COVID-19 vaccines, tests

ZURICH, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Novartis is talking to other companies about helping to make vaccines and tests for COVID-19, the Swiss drugmaker said on Thursday without providing more details.

“Novartis Technical Operations is currently exploring ways in which we can collaborate with our partners in the industry, and leverage our manufacturing capacity and capabilities to contribute to the pandemic effort,” it said in response to a query.

“We are currently in discussions with several companies with a view to supporting the manufacturing of vaccines and components for tests for COVID-19, and we will share details as soon as possible.”

Novartis last year agreed to license two of Molecular Partners’ antiviral drugs that it hopes to use to treat COVID-19 patients.

Novartis’s gene therapy unit AveXis also last year signed a manufacturing agreement to produce a novel genetic COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the U.S.-based Mass General Brigham health care system. (Reporting by John Miller and Michael Shields; editing by Jason Neely)