An international group of pharmaceutical companies have joined an alliance, with the purpose of pooling their industry technologies and expertise to develop a plasma-derived therapy for treating COVID-19. Formed by CSL Behring, the alliance also includes Biotest, BPL Group, LFB, Octapharma, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Additional companies may still join the effort. Primary points of collaboration will include plasma collections, clinical trial development, and manufacturing.
According to a new press release the alliance begins immediately with the investigational development of an “unbranded anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune immunoglobulin (H-IG) medicine” with the potential to treat individuals with serious complications from COVID-19. H-IGs are human plasma derived-therapeutic proteins drawn from donors with high titers of certain type antibodies. The H-IG therapy being developed by the alliance has been shown to be effective in the treatment of severe acute viral respiratory infections and could potentially be a treatment option for COVID-19.
Developing and manufacturing such a therapy would necessitate plasma donations from many people who have fully recovered from COVID-19, and whose blood contains antibodies that can fight the coronavirus. The plasma would subsequently be transported to manufacturing facilities for processing –this would encompass virus inactivation and removal processes, and purification.
“Unprecedented times call for bold moves,” said Julie Kim, President of Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit, Takeda. “We collectively agree that by collaborating and bringing industry resources together, we could accelerate bringing a potential therapy to market as well as increase the potential supply. We invite companies and institutions focusing on plasma to support or join our alliance.”
“Leaders lead during uncertainty. There is no question that we are all experiencing the impact of COVID-19,” said Bill Mezzanotte, CSL Behring’s Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development. “This effort aims to accelerate a reliable, scalable and sustainable option for caregivers to treat patients suffering from the impact of COVID-19. In addition to pooling industry resources, we will also collaborate with government and academic efforts as a single alliance whenever we can, including important activities like clinical trials. This will make it more efficient in these hectic times for these stakeholders as well.”
A website with more information, including for potential individual participants, will be online shortly.
Source: Alliance press release dated April 6, 2020