The agreement will see contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), WuXi Biologics, conduct cell-line development, process and formulation development, as well as clinical manufacturing of Vir’s proprietary antibodies.
Upon the potential regulatory approval, the Chinese CDMO will have the rights to commercialize the therapies in Greater China, while Vir will be responsible for marketing the products in all other markets worldwide.
Vir has identified a number of monoclonal antibodies that bind to the virus, which were isolated from patients who had survived a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The developer is currently conducting research to determine whether these, or additional antibodies that may be identified, can be used as a treatment or prevention against SARS-CoV-2.
George Scangos, CEO of Vir, commented that the partnership occurred due to the importance of moving ‘rapidly’ in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
“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,” he added.
WuXi Biologics has followed the wave of response that has risen across the industry due to the virus, an outbreak of which was first reported in Wuhan, China.
The Chinese company temporarily shut down operations at a small molecule drug discovery facility in Wuhan, and is looking to US sites to offset capacity, while it also attempts to conduct its business meetings with clients via video conferences or teleconferences, to prevent them from travelling to China.