The search for a drug to treat COVID-19 is in full swing. International companies have now joined the alliance to develop a potential plasma therapy. Researchers from CSL Behring are also playing a key role in the development of a hyperimmune immunoglobulin
Together against the pandemic: International plasma companies Biotest, BPL, LFB and Octapharma have now joined an alliance to develop a potential plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19, consisting of CSL Behring and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. This alliance will immediately begin trial development of an unbranded anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug. The medicine, a so-called ‘polyclonal hyperimmune immunoglobulin,’ is expected to help treat individuals with serious complications of COVID-19. “This unique, powerful alliance – which also includes our Central Hessen CSL Behring research and production site in Marburg – brings together the expertise and infrastructure of the world’s leading plasma companies to accelerate the production of a potential therapy to treat people with serious complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. Lutz Bonacker, Managing Director of CSL Behring Marburg.
Blood plasma with antibodies wanted
The researchers are relying on help from the public. “In order to produce this urgently needed therapy, we are dependent on plasma donations from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and whose blood contains the necessary antibodies that can fight the novel coronavirus,” said Bonacker. After plasma collection, the “convalescent” plasma is transported to production sites, where it will undergo an established process in which, among other things, existing viruses are inactivated and removed and then purified into the product. Donors can contribute to this project at various centers in the US or Europe.
The researchers welcome further partnerships. Other companies and institutions “that focus on plasma are also invited to support or join our alliance,” says Julie Kim, President of the Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit, Takeda. In addition to pooling industry resources, “wherever possible, we will work with government and academia as one partner, such as in key activities such as clinical trials,” said Bill Mezzanotte, executive vice president and head of research and development at CSL Behring. Experts from the alliance partners will work together on all important aspects of plasma collection, clinical trial development and manufacturing processes.