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AbCellera-Discovered Antibody, Bamlanivimab, to be Developed with VIR-7831 for the Treatment of COVID-19

·6 min read

Bamlanivimab’s powerful neutralization of the virus responsible for COVID-19 provides therapeutic backbone for new therapies to expand protection against viral variants

AbCellera (Nasdaq: ABCL) today announced that bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555), a human antibody discovered by AbCellera and developed with Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), will be evaluated together with VIR-7831, an antibody developed by Vir Biotechnology, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline, as a potential COVID-19 therapy in low-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Bamlanivimab is currently a component in all Lilly’s antibody-based COVID-19 therapies, which include bamlanivimab alone, and bamlanivimab and etesevimab together. Lilly will expand the ongoing BLAZE-4 trials to evaluate bamlanivimab together with VIR-7831. Details about Lilly’s trial are available here.

Bamlanivimab is a human antibody that reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 by up to 80% in people exposed to the virus, prevents COVID-19 related deaths, and reduces hospitalizations by 70%-80% in patients recently diagnosed with mild to moderate COVID-19. Bamlanivimab, which was discovered by AbCellera in March 2020 and reached human clinical trials 90 days later, was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2020.

"To date, more than 100,000 patients have received bamlanivimab, and the data from clinical trials show its use saves lives and prevents hospitalizations," said Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO and President of AbCellera. "Bamlanivimab alone remains an important antibody therapy, and we are pleased it will be evaluated with VIR-7831 to potentially expand the impact of antibody therapies on viral variants."

To date, bamlanivimab 700 mg has been authorized in the United States, Canada, Germany, Israel, Hungary, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, and Panama to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients.

About AbCellera’s Response to COVID-19

Bamlanivimab was developed from an antibody that was discovered from the blood of a recovered COVID-19 patient using AbCellera’s pandemic response platform, in partnership with the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Within one week of receiving the sample, AbCellera screened over five million antibody-producing cells to identify and isolate approximately 500 unique antibodies that bind to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The binding antibodies were then tested by AbCellera, the VRC, and Lilly to find those most effective in neutralizing the virus. Bamlanivimab was selected as the lead candidate from this group of antibodies and was the first therapeutic candidate specifically developed against SARS-CoV-2 to enter human clinical trials in North America. Bamlanivimab was the first monoclonal antibody to receive EUA from the U.S. FDA and is currently being assessed in several clinical trials alone and together with other antibodies.

AbCellera’s pandemic response capabilities were developed over the past two years as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program. The goal of the P3 program is to establish a robust technology platform for pandemic response capable of developing field-ready medical countermeasures within 60 days of isolation of an unknown viral pathogen. AbCellera’s ongoing efforts to respond to the pandemic have identified more than 2,300 unique anti-SARS-CoV-2 human antibodies from multiple patient samples. These antibodies are in various stages of testing by AbCellera and its partners.

About Bamlanivimab

Bamlanivimab is a recombinant, neutralizing human IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. It is designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, thus neutralizing the virus. Bamlanivimab emerged from the collaboration between Lilly and AbCellera to create antibody therapies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Lilly scientists rapidly developed the antibody in less than three months after it was discovered by AbCellera and the scientists at NIAID VRC. It was identified from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19.

Lilly has successfully completed a Phase 1 study of bamlanivimab in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 (NCT04411628). A Phase 2/3 study in people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in the ambulatory setting (BLAZE-1, NCT04427501) is ongoing. A Phase 3 study of bamlanivimab alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab together in residents and staff at long-term care facilities (BLAZE-2, NCT04497987) is also ongoing. In addition, bamlanivimab is being tested in the National Institutes of Health-led ACTIV-2 study in ambulatory COVID-19 patients.

Bamlanivimab is authorized in the U.S. for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with a positive COVID-19 test, who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. Bamlanivimab should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test and within 10 days of symptom onset.

About AbCellera Biologics Inc.

AbCellera is a technology company that searches, decodes, and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that its partners can develop into drugs to prevent and treat disease. AbCellera partners with drug developers of all sizes, from large pharmaceutical to small biotechnology companies, empowering them to move quickly, reduce cost, and tackle the toughest problems in drug development. For more information, visit www.abcellera.com.

AbCellera Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to management. All statements contained in this release other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including statements regarding our ability to develop, commercialize and achieve market acceptance of our current and planned products and services, our research and development efforts, and other matters regarding our business strategies, use of capital, results of operations and financial position, and plans and objectives for future operations.

In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words "may," "will," "could," "would," "should," "expect," "intend," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "project," "potential," "continue," "ongoing" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. These statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors are described under "Risk Factors," "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and elsewhere in the documents we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time. We caution you that forward-looking statements are based on a combination of facts and factors currently known by us and our projections of the future, about which we cannot be certain. As a result, the forward-looking statements may not prove to be accurate. The forward-looking statements in this press release represent our views as of the date hereof. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements for any reason, except as required by law.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210127005492/en/

Contacts

Media: Jessica Yingling, Ph.D.; media@abcellera.com, +1(236)521-6774

Business Development: Kevin Heyries, Ph.D.; bd@abcellera.com, +1(604)559-9005

Investor Relations: Melanie Solomon; ir@abcellera.com, +1(778)729-9116