With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and possible vaccines approximately one year away from launch, the race to find a treatment for the disease continues. A growing number of pharmaceutical companies have begun work on recovered patients’ antibody treatments for COVID-19. As monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs are some of the top sellers in the market today, this approach holds potential, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “One approach for these treatments involves identifying the most effective anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies from patients who have recovered from the disease. The antibodies are then mass-produced, removing the need for continued plasma from patients, and administered intravenously to current COVID-19 patients to lessen their symptoms.”
One of the companies working on this technique is GigaGen, which is looking to produce whole antibody recombinant immunoglobulin repertoires from recovered patients. The company will use its single-cell technology libraries, which can be directly translated into antibody therapies. These antibodies would be able to block the replication of the virus and be used for passive immunity after intravenous administration. The company is currently seeking recovered patients to donate plasma to begin identification and construction of the antibody libraries. The company is also working with the FDA to speed up development with a goal of reaching clinics in early 2021.
Swanson continued: “This manufacturing process has better batch consistency and lower contamination risk because it is based on a recombinant therapy and not derived from plasma. This increases the consistency as it is not dependant on batches of human plasma, which can vary, and increases its potency as it is the same specific concentrated antibodies produced in each batch.”
Another company working on this treatment is Celltrion Group. The company has completed its identification of the most promising antibody candidates from the blood of recovered patients in Korea in partnership with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The company now plans to begin work on cell line development and mass production for these antibodies, with the goal of launching clinical trials in July 2020.
Swanson continues: “This novel treatment has the potential of leveraging the body’s own immune system to create a treatment. With a large number of antibodies examined, there is a high potential to find a promising candidate that has already been selected to be effective and specific. This treatment can be used to lessen the severity of the illness for patients and to provide prophylactic treatments for healthcare workers and immunocompromised individuals.”