CSL Behring Australia joins race for Covid-19 therapy development

6 May 2020 (Last Updated May 6th, 2020 11:34)

Australian subsidiary of CSL Behring is set to develop a plasma-derived therapeutic for the treatment of serious complications in Covid-19 patients.

CSL Behring Australia joins race for Covid-19 therapy development
Up to 800 plasma donations will be needed to generate enough COVID-19 Immunoglobulin for 50-100 seriously ill Covid-19 patients. Credit: iXimus from Pixabay.

The Australian subsidiary of CSL Behring is set to develop a plasma-derived therapeutic for the treatment of serious complications in Covid-19 patients.

The company intends to focus on patients whose infection is progressing to the requirement for ventilation.

Named Covid-19 Immunoglobulin, the therapeutic will be developed by CSL Behring Australia at its manufacturing facility in Broadmeadows, Victoria.

The first part of the development project will involve production and use of a small batch of Covid-19 Immunoglobulin to create tests for detecting the presence of the antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

In the second part, a larger batch of the therapeutic will be used in safety clinical trials at hospitals across Australia.

Covid-19 Immunoglobulin will be developed using donated plasma of those who have recovered from Covid-19 in Australia. The antibodies in donors’ plasma will be pooled, purified and concentrated to generate Covid-Immunoglobulin or hyperimmune globulin.

The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) will collect the plasma. According to estimates, up to 800 plasma donations will be needed to generate enough Covid-19 Immunoglobulin for 50-100 seriously ill patients in the clinical trial.

Lifeblood chief executive Shelly Park said: “Developing this new treatment requires plasma donations from people who have fully recovered from Covid-19, and whose plasma contains high levels of antibodies that can fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.”

CSL Behring will collaborate with the National Blood Authority to develop Covid-19 Immunoglobulin for people in Australia.

Commenting on the company’s announcement, Australia Minister for Health Greg Hunt said: “The Australian Government welcomes the announcement by CSL Behring that Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to start production of a potentially lifesaving plasma-derived treatment for people with Covid-19.”