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US-based biotechnology company GigaGen has developed a new class of drugs, recombinant hyperimmunes, to potentially treat patients with Covid-19.
Hospitals across the country are using convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19. Obtained from people who recovered from the disease, convalescent plasma contains antibodies that could fight the infection.
However, plasma from many donors has weak antibody levels, limiting the manufacture of high-potency doses required to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
To address this, GigaGen developed a technology that could enable millions of doses of polyclonal antibody therapeutics from survivors with good levels of antibodies.
The company’s lead investigational candidate GIGA-2050 was created after screening 50 convalescent Covid-19 donors. Recombinant hyperimmunes consist of thousands to tens-of-thousands of antibodies
These new class of drugs derived from donor B cells generated recombinantly at large scale in mammalian cells.
The new drugs work similarly to recombinant convalescent serum, which combines the benefits of recombinant antibodies with those of plasma-derived antibodies. GigaGen’s technology eliminates the need for more convalescent donors.
GigaGen co-founder and CEO David Johnson said: “Our approach only requires a few donors to generate enough product to treat millions of people. No other company on Earth has the technology to produce this kind of drug.
“We still don’t know whether vaccines and monoclonal antibodies will fail to prevent serious Covid-19, so our technology fills a critical niche to address the risk of a further escalating pandemic.”
The company added that the GIGA-2050 drug candidate, made up of a mixture of 12,500 anti-coronavirus antibodies, demonstrated greater IgG purity compared to plasma-derived drugs.
SARS CoV-2 live virus neutralisation assays found the drug candidate to be 100 times more protective than high-titer Covid-19 convalescent plasma.
GIGA-2050 can bind to different natural SARS CoV-2 variants, as well as its predecessor SARS CoV, indicating the drug candidate’s potential for broad efficacy.
The company published its new research in bioRxiv.