Seattle Genetics’ shares rocketed after news broke of Merck making a major investment into the Bothwell, Washington-based company via two strategic oncology deals.

Vir Biotechnology Inc. plans to start a mid-to-late stage trial of the company’s Covid-19 drug candidate in August, as drugmakers across the globe rush to find treatments for the highly infectious virus.

With a $30 million investment, Versant Ventures launched Matterhorn Biosciences AG, a company developing T cell receptor therapies based on the recent discovery of MR1-restricted T (MRIT) cells that recognize and kill a wide range of tumors of various tissue origins.

Covid-19 put many businesses on hold, but not biotech. This sector is growing at record speeds, and only a small portion of the capital deals are related to the pandemic.

Longwood Fund closed the early-stage investment group’s fifth fund, which will be used to support the launch of new companies as well as the growth of startups in the life sciences space. 

Sanofi Pasteur and Lexington, Massachusetts-based Translate Bio announced the expansion of an existing collaboration to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases.

Paris-based Sanofi announced plans to increase the company’s vaccines research and production capabilities.

Governments around the world have spent $10 trillion in fiscal actions to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, but significant further efforts are needed, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.

Seattle-based Athira Pharma closed on a Series B financing worth $85 million, led by Perceptive Advisors.

The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative has been established with a $500 million investment.