Home >Science >Health >Serum Institute joins Merck, IAVI to develop monoclonal antibodies against covid-19
The two monoclonal antibodies were co-invented by IAVI and Scripps Research as an innovative intervention to address the covid-19 pandemic (REUTERS)
The two monoclonal antibodies were co-invented by IAVI and Scripps Research as an innovative intervention to address the covid-19 pandemic (REUTERS)

Serum Institute joins Merck, IAVI to develop monoclonal antibodies against covid-19

Monoclonal antibodies are synthesised proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system in the fight against a particular disease

NEW DELHI: Serum Institute of India has entered into an agreement with German pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA and IAVI, a non-profit health research organization, to develop two monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2.

Monoclonal antibodies are synthesised proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system in the fight against a particular disease.

The two monoclonal antibodies were co-invented by IAVI and Scripps Research as an innovative intervention to address the covid-19 pandemic, according to a joint statement by IAVI and Serum Institute.

Under IAVI’s agreement with Merck and Serum Institute, the partners will conduct an accelerated, integrated program of preclinical and clinical research to evaluate the antibodies for treatment of COVID-19. A Phase 1 clinical trial is expected to start early next year, the statement said.

If the antibody candidates being advanced through the partnership are shown to be efficacious in clinical trials, either as a single antibody or a potential combination of both candidates, Merck will lead commercialization in developed countries, while Serum Institute will lead global manufacturing as well as commercialization in low- and middle-low-income countries, including India.

“Given the breadth and scale of our technology and our long-standing devotion to improving health especially in low-income countries, I am confident that we and our partners are on a productive path that will lead to a much-needed, globally available tool for COVID-19 treatment and possibly prevention," said Serum Institute chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla.

Biocon subsidiary Syngene International Ltd will also be partnering in the effort through development and conduct of assays to support clinical development, while ATUM, a California-based bioengineering company, has used its ‘Leap-In Transposase Platform’ to develop stable cell lines needed for the manufacturing the antibody candidates.

Globally, various monoclonal antibodies are in development like those by Eli Lilly and Regeneron's experimental cocktail of antibodies. The Regeneron cocktail was famously used to treat US President Donald Trump.

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