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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

BMS secures rights to novel monoclonal antibody combo for COVID-19

Health Industry Hub | February 5, 2021 |

Pharma News: Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has secured global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise Rockefeller University’s novel monoclonal antibody (“mAb”) duo treatment that neutralises the SARS-CoV-2 virus for therapy or prevention of COVID-19.

Despite the increasing availability of the vaccines, there will continue to be patients who contract COVID-19 and will need treatment for their infection. This novel treatment is a combination of two mAbs directed at blocking the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and neutralising the virus.

Neil MacGregor, General Manager, BMS Australia and New Zealand said “In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, BMS has focused on ensuring the ongoing supply of our medicine, protecting the health, wellbeing and safety of our workforce, and contributing to research efforts in the fight against the virus.”

“Despite Australia’s enviable position in our fight against this disease, around the world the need for effective treatments and solutions remains urgent, as the virus continues to claim lives and place a significant burden on healthcare systems.

“We will draw on our proven track record in manufacturing monoclonal antibodies, coupled with The Rockefeller’s excellence in innovative scientific research, in the collective fight against COVID-19.

“BMS have been collaborating with The Rockefeller since last year. With our formal agreement in place, we look forward to advancing our work in this important effort,” he added.

The mAbs have been engineered to be highly potent and stable, allowing them to last longer in the bloodstream. Preclinical data suggest that this could enable effective treatment against multiple variants of the virus using a low dose subcutaneous administration, which would increase access to the medicine by eliminating the need for intravenous infusion.

Ultimately, should the clinical development be successful, these advantages could potentially help expand access globally, including to low- and middle-income countries and to communities where healthcare resources are limited – a goal that both institutions will jointly work towards.

Phase 1 clinical trials to assess dosing for IV and subcutaneous formulations, and to assess safety for the mAb duo, were initiated by Rockefeller in mid-January. Planning is underway with the goal of moving rapidly to a registrational program following readout of the phase 1 study taking place at Rockefeller University Hospital.

“We look forward to continuing to work with The Rockefeller University in this crucial effort,” said Ho Sung Cho, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Discovery Biotherapeutics, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Bristol Myers Squibb has supported the development and manufacturing of clinical supplies for Rockefeller to begin the Phase 1 trial and we are committed to leveraging our capabilities and resources in an effort to expeditiously develop and bring this potential treatment to patients and further address the challenges of the pandemic.”

“The two highly potent antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, discovered by Rockefeller scientists, have the potential to play an important role in treating COVID-19 patients,” said Richard P. Lifton, President, The Rockefeller University. “New treatment options are urgently needed that treat mild to moderate disease and prevent development of severe disease in high-risk patients. Our collaboration with BMS will help us accelerate development timelines and support rapid delivery to patients.”

Included in the terms of the agreement, Rockefeller is entitled to receive royalty payments on future sales. Should the clinical development be successful, Bristol Myers Squibb will work to enable availability and affordability of this potential treatment to patients globally.


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