AbbVie entered into a collaboration with Harbour BioMed, Utrecht University, and Erasmus Medical Center to develop an antibody therapeutic to prevent and treat COVID-19, the parties announced Friday. The fully human, neutralising antibody 47D11, which targets the conserved domain of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, was discovered by Harbour BioMed, Utrecht University, and Erasmus Medical Center.
Under the deal, AbbVie will support the other collaborators through preclinical activities, while undertaking preparations for later-stage preclinical and clinical development work. Meanwhile, AbbVie will receive an option to exclusively license the antibody from the three parties for therapeutic clinical development and commercialization worldwide.
“Treatment and prevention of COVID-19 remains a critical global need. The antibody…is extremely promising based on the mechanism by which it targets the virus and on its ‘developability’ as a fully human protein,” remarked AbbVie’s chief scientific officer Tom Hudson. According to study data published last month in Nature Communications, 47D11 was able to neutralise SARS-CoV-2, as well as the earlier coronavirus SARS-CoV, in cell culture.
AbbVie is currently conducting the phase 2 iNSPIRE trial to evaluate the addition of its BTK inhibitor Imbruvica (ibrutinib) to best supportive care in patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 disease suffering from pulmonary distress. Earlier this year, results from a study testing the addition of its HIV drug Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) to standard care in seriously ill patients with COVID-19, showed the combination treatment failed to significantly shorten the time to clinical improvement, or significantly lower mortality rates, compared to standard care alone.
Meanwhile, Eli Lilly recently announced that it started dosing patients in a phase 1 trial investigating the antibody LY-CoV555, which is being co-developed with AbCellera. Eli Lilly said the study is the first testing a potential antibody designed to treat COVID-19.