[Coronavirus] Samsung BioLogics wins deal from Vir Biotechnology to produce candidate material for COVID-19 treatment

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 10, 2020, 15:35 Updated : April 10, 2020, 15:35

[Courtesy of Samsung BioLogics]

SEOUL -- Samsung BioLogics, a leading bio company in South Korea, has clinched a deal worth $360 million to produce candidate materials being developed by Vir Biotechnology, an American clinical-stage immunology company, for the treatment of a novel coronavirus.

Under a binding letter of intent with Samsung BioLogics, Vir Biotechnology, headquartered in San Francisco, will transfer technology this year for the consignment production of candidate materials in 2021. Vir's current development pipeline includes SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.

The deal with Samsung BioLogics came days after Vir announced a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), a British healthcare company, to research and develop solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

Vir's proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology will be used to identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be used as therapeutic or preventative options to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks. Vir and GSK will also apply their combined expertise to research SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus vaccines.

Due to the urgent need for COVID-19 solutions, Vir and GSK will focus on the development of specific antibody candidates that have demonstrated high affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and are highly potent in neutralizing the virus in live virus-cellular assays. Subject to regulatory review, they plan to proceed directly into a phase 2 clinical trial within the next three to five months.

Vir and GSK also agreed to conduct research into SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus vaccines by coupling GSK's vaccine technologies and expertise with Vir's ability to identify neutralizing epitopes that are present across entire viral families.
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