Coronavirus company news summary – Lilly launches Phase III trial of neutralising antibody – RDIF supports delivery of drug Avifavir to South American countries

4 August 2020 (Last Updated August 4th, 2020 09:25)

4 August 2020 

AbbVie, Amgen and Takeda, which are members of the COVID R&D Alliance, have started patient enrolment in the I-SPY COVID Trial. The study will assess the efficacy of cenicriviroc, Otezla (apremilast), Firazyr (icatibant injection) in severely ill, hospitalised Covid-19 patients requiring high-flow oxygen. The I-SPY COVID trial leverages Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative's adaptive platform trial design.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has said that its investigational Covid-19 antibody cocktail was able to prevent and treat the disease in rhesus macaques and hamsters, according to Reuters. The company added that the combination of two monoclonal antibodies was able to ‘almost completely block establishment of virus infection’ in the animals. The cocktail was also observed to mitigate infection in a second study, where animals were infected with a much higher level of the virus.

Eli Lilly, in alliance with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has started the Phase III BLAZE-2 clinical trial to assess LY-CoV555 for preventing Covid-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Being developed in alliance with AbCellera, LY-CoV555 is a neutralising antibody. The trial will recruit up to 2,400 participants in the US.

A joint venture by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and ChemRar Group has entered into an exclusive agreement with Bolivia’s Sigma Corp to deliver the Covid-19 drug Avifavir to Argentina, Bolivia, Equador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay and Uruguay. The joint venture has also signed an agreement with 3Sixty Biopharmaceuticals to provide the drug to South Africa. The drug has already been delivered to 50 regions in Russia, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Waisman Biomanufacturing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has agreed to collaborate with Heat Biologics to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine candidate for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. Phase I trials are expected to start early next year and UW–Madison may be a trial site. Heat’s vaccine candidate will use a genetically engineered combination of gp96 human protein and viral proteins to elicit a T-cell response.

The Russian Defense Ministry revealed that the volunteers participating in the Covid-19 vaccine test were found to be immune to coronavirus following the tests.  The ministry's Zvezda broadcasting service reported: "The research results showed clearly that all volunteers had a clear immune response resulting from vaccination." The final medical examination of these volunteers was carried out on 3 August in the Defense Ministry’s Main Military Clinical Hospital. It was carried out by the ministry along with the Russian National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.