Bay Area Tech Companies Look for Coronavirus Treatment

NBCUniversal, Inc.

As the president meets with drug makers, Silicon Valley tech companies are working long hours trying to come up with a way to stop the coronavirus, communicating with other companies working towards the same goal.

Employees in the lab at ATUM Bio are pulling extra shifts as they try to find a coronavirus vaccine. The Newark company is making computer-created copies of the virus, breaking it down into parts.

“We build virtual models first, in a computer, to identify different properties of the coronavirus,” said ATUM Co-Founder, Claes Gustaffson.

They’re not alone, ATUM sends the copies to other biotech companies working to find a vaccine.

Companies like Gilead Sciences in Foster City, Vir Bio in San Francisco, Moderna in Massachusetts and beyond.

“We’re a cog in their machine in building all the sub-pieces that go into making these drugs,” said Gustafsson said.

Peter Leroe-Munoz of Silicon Valley Leadership Group said biotech companies are working with Chinese scientists, also scrambling to help people get better.

“We’re also seeing corporate responsibility play itself out on a global scale,” he said. “They’re stepping up to respond to the coronavirus, not only within their own companies, but also to be of service to those who might be victims in other parts of the world.”

ATUM said it’s created 90% of the coronavirus in the lab sending parts to whoever requests them. They say they’ll worry about payment later.

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