Vir Biotechnology and WuXi Biologics have entered into a development and manufacturing collaboration to manufacture human monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

The Coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, originated in Wuhan city of China, has been declared as a public health emergency by the WHO. The COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Under the terms of the agreement, both the companies will work closely on the clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of antibodies developed by Vir Biotechnology.

WuXi Biologics will carry out cell-line development, process and formulation development, and initial manufacturing for clinical development.

WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen said: “Both WuXi Biologics and Vir felt the great urgency to develop antibodies to treat global patients provided they work in the clinic. Our state-of-the-art technology platform and robust global-quality supply network make us uniquely qualified in expediting the development and manufacturing of these potential treatments.

“Once again WuXi Biologics is collaborating with global biotech companies such as Vir to expedite biologics development to benefit patients worldwide.”

Vir has identified and isolated numerous monoclonal antibodies bound to SARS-CoV-2

Once the antibodies are approved, WuXi Biologics will hold the rights to commercialise therapies in Greater China, while Vir would retain rights for all other markets worldwide.

Vir has developed a method for capitalising on unusually successful immune responses naturally occurring in people who are protected from or have recovered from, infectious diseases.

The company’s platform is said to identify rare antibodies from survivors, to treat and prevent the rapidly evolving pathogens through a direct pathogen neutralisation and immune system stimulation.

The company has identified numerous monoclonal antibodies bound to SARS-CoV-2, and has isolated them from individuals who had survived a SARS infection. It is carrying out research to determine the effectiveness of its antibodies for the treatment or prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2.

Vir claimed that its platform has been used to identify and develop antibodies for pathogens including Ebola, hepatitis B virus, influenza A, malaria, and others, said the company.

Vir Biotechnology CEO George A Scangos said: “We are acutely aware of the importance of moving rapidly in response to COVID-19. In the event that we are in a position to develop an antibody therapy, our agreement with WuXi Biologics enables us to accelerate advancement against this global threat.”