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Junshi Bio Teams Up with IMCAS to Develop Neutralizing Antibodies for COVID-19

publication date: Mar 24, 2020
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Junshi Biosciences (HK: 1877) of Shanghai signed a collaboration agreement with the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) to partner development of neutralizing antibodies as a COVID-19 treatment. The two entities have already identified multiple strains of neutralizing antibodies (NAb) that block viral invasions in laboratory assays, and they have started animal experiments. Preliminary in vitro and in vivo studies have verified the NAbs' blocking activity. Junshi and IMCAS are confirming preclinical toxicology and in vivo activity with the goal of filing INDs in China and globally.

A neutralizing antibody (NAb) is an antibody capable of keeping an infectious agent, usually a virus, from infecting a cell by neutralizing or inhibiting its biological effect. It could potentially facilitate virus clearance by altering the course of infection.

According to Junshi, antibody-based therapies have several advantages over other treatments: they can be therapeutic as well as prophylactic, protecting health workers in a high-risk environment; they are generally safe given their specificity to pathogen; and compared with the serum of recovered patients, antibodies are more consistent in quality and can be readily mass-produced through biological engineering, ensuring ample clinical supply for the pandemic.

Junshi, which claims to be a specialist in therapeutic antibody development, has established a long-term cooperation with IMCAS, using its proprietary antibody development platform to carry out screening for various pathogen host receptors and anti-pathogen antibodies, based on patients who have recovered from the infection. Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, these two parties have been actively collaborating to develop a novel NAb therapy

Dr. Ning Li, CEO of Junshi Biosciences, said, “There has not yet been an effective antibody drug approved for treating the novel coronavirus in humans. It is our responsibility as a local pharmaceutical innovator to harness our proprietary antibody platform and R&D capabilities to diligently develop a treatment in the near-future. We believe our collaboration with IMCAS will help accelerate the clinical development of an antibody therapy. We look forward to facilitating the use of antibody-based therapy as a treatment option for COVID-19, both in China and globally.”

Established in 2012, Junshi develops first-in-class and best-in-class drugs through original innovation and translational medicine. On December 24, 2018, Junshi Biosciences was listed on the Hong Kong Exchange. Its pipeline includes 20 drug candidates for cancer, metabolic and autoimmune diseases.

See our other articles on Junshi.

Disclosure: none.




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