COVID-19 News

NIAID partners with Lilly for phase 3 trial of AbCellera COVID-19 antibody

AbCellera announced on August 3 that LY-CoV555, a human antibody developed as a potential treatment and prophylaxis for COVID-19 with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has progressed to Phase 3 trials.

The antibody was discovered in collaboration with the NIAID VRC and co-developed with Eli Lilly and Company. The technology was originally created in response to a (DARPA) challenge program.

The Lilly-sponsored trial, conducted in partnership with NIAID and the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), will use customized mobile research units to conduct the study at long-term care facilities across the United States. The study will include up to 2,400 participants and assess the ability of LY-CoV555 to prevent infection of long-term care residents and facility staff who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

"The mission of the COVID-19 Prevention Network is to conduct Phase 3 vaccine and monoclonal antibody efficacy studies for the prevention of COVID-19," said Myron Cohen, MD, director of UNC's Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and a CoVPN leader. "We're excited to partner with Lilly to determine whether LY-CoV555 can prevent or mitigate progression of COVID-19 infection in this vulnerable population that has been greatly impacted by this virus."

LY-CoV555 is a neutralizing antibody against SARS-CoV-2 that emerged from AbCellera’s collaboration with Lilly. Identified in early March, LY-CoV555 was the world’s first therapeutic candidate specifically developed against SARS-CoV-2 to enter human clinical trials. LY-CoV555 is also the fastest therapeutic antibody molecule ever developed, moving from first screen to clinical testing in 90 days. LY-CoV555 advanced to Phase 2 clinical trials on June 17.

“Lilly’s speed and resolve in advancing LY-CoV555 into Phase 2 and 3 studies has been remarkable and gives hope to all of us,” said Carl Hansen, PhD, CEO of AbCellera, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. “This pandemic has shown us that therapies can be developed much faster than was thought possible. For AbCellera, it affirms our core belief that making long-term commitments in teams and technology is the key to quickly bringing new treatments to the patients who need them.”

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, AbCellera adapted its technology to rapidly respond to pandemics as part of the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3). The goal of the 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. To date, AbCellera has interrogated 61.8 million immune cells from multiple patient samples and identified more than 2,000 unique human antibodies that bind to the surface of SARS-CoV-2. These antibodies are in various stages of testing by AbCellera and its partners, which include Lilly and the VRC.

“Six months ago, the world knew very little about this virus. The data we are continually generating will be absolutely critical to bringing solutions to the pandemic,” said Ester Falconer, Ph.D., Head of Research and Development at AbCellera. “In a very short time, AbCellera has generated massive amounts of information about how the human immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2. Beyond the unique antibodies we’ve identified against the virus, we have data on thousands of related antibodies from the immune repertoires of multiple COVID-19 patient samples. These data sets will continue to inform treatment solutions to combat COVID-19.”

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