Giving Compass' Take:

• Sara Gilgore, at DC Innovators introduces five of the most impactful, resilient innovators in crisis response across the Washington D.C. region.

• How important is it to maintain a racial justice lens in crisis response efforts? What can you do to support the innovators in crisis response that operate in your communities?

• Read about effective strategies to help organizations and nonprofits survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The D.C. region has a strong contingent of biotechs competing in the race to find a Covid-19 vaccine. And one of those players is not planning to win, but to have a successful performance.

Gaithersburg’s Altimmune Inc. is developing both a vaccine candidate for the virus and a treatment for patients in the disease’s early stages, to help prevent hospitalizations and severe cases — and, potentially, prevent this coronavirus and others.

It also means taking a different approach; Altimmune’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate is administered via nose spray as are its other vaccines, rather than via a shot in the arm, for instance. And that’s because the companies developing Covid-19 vaccines started with what they knew, which generally involves intramuscular injections, said Dr. Vipin Garg, president and CEO of Altimmune. “We think over time, people are going to realize that… nasal spray would be the right way to deal with this virus and I think our data would really establish that.”

To progress that vaccine through clinical trials, Altimmune has teamed up with Rockville’s Vigene Biosciences. The partners plan to launch an early-stage study in Q4. Altimmune is also working with two other large manufacturers, shooting to deliver 200 million doses in the second half of next year.

The company doesn’t expect to be first to the finish line, as biotechs like Moderna and its Gaithersburg neighbor, Novavax, are further along. And, Garg said, that’s just fine.

“We just know so little about this virus at this point that we can’t declare victory after the first vaccine candidate,” he said. “We have to let it play out so we can have the best, most optimal vaccine candidate to fight this pandemic.”

Read the full article about innovators in crisis response by Sara Gilgore at DC Innovators.