‘Unprecedented Times call for Bold Moves’ as Competitive Plasma Firms Unite to Battle COVID-19

Apr 7, 2020 | Alliance, Collaboration, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Hyperimmune Immunoglobulin, Leading Pharma, News, Pharma Watch, Plasma, Plasma Transfusion

‘Unprecedented Times call for Bold Moves’ as Competitive Plasma Firms Unite to Battle COVID-19

CSL Behring and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company have initiated an alliance bringing together the world’s leading plasma companies to focus on developing and delivering hyperimmune immunoglobulin to help fight the global war on COVID-19. Led by Australian and American and Japanese-headquartered life sciences firms, other participants include Biotest (Germany), LFB (France), and Octapharma (Switzerland). The alliance immediately commences with the investigational development of one, unbranded anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune immunoglobulin medicine with the potential to treat individuals with serious complications from COVID-19.

The President of Takeda’s Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit,  Julie Kim, declared, “Unprecedented times call for bold moves.” Ms. Kim continued, “We collectively agree that by collaborating and bringing industry resources together we could accelerate bringing a potential therapy to market as well as increase the potential supply. We invite companies and institutions focusing on plasma support to join our alliance.” The group seeks to “accelerate a reliable, scalable and sustainable option for caregivers to treat patients suffering from the impact of COVID-19,” declared Bill Mezzanotte, Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development for CSL Behring.

Serious Agenda in Serious Times

This new collaborative is upping the ante in the battle against COVID-19. By pooling industry resources, the collective will collaborate with government  and academic efforts as a single alliance whenever possible, reports Mr. Mezzanotte. This intensive and broad-based collaborative effort will focus as well on clinical trials to accelerate treatments to market.

Developing a Hyperimmune

The group seeks to develop hyperimmune immunoglobulin targeting COVID-19. Similar to intravenous immunoglobulin, this is prepared from the plasma of donors with high amounts of antibody against a specific organisms or antigen.  Administration of hyperimmune globulin provides “passive immunity” to the patient against the agent. This contrasts with a vaccine for example that provides an active immunity. However, vaccines take much longer  to achieve this intended goal while the hyperimmune globulin can offer instant “passive” short-lived immunity. 

The development of a hyperimmune requires plasma donation from many individual’s wo have fully recovered from COVID-19 and whose blood contains antibodies that can fight COVID-19. Once collected, the “convalescent” plasma would then be transported to manufacturing facilities where it undergoes proprietary processing, including effective virus inactivation and removal processes and then is purified into the product.

Major Academic Efforts

TrialSite News received a lot of good comments and interest from its reporting on the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project led by an elite group of academic research centers and providers, such as Mayo Clinic. In fact, several physicians have contacted TrialSite News requesting that the company help them get in touch with the national network—which we did accomplish. Even NBA star Marcus Smart contributed to the national group. The hope would be that this new industry collaborative will work with academic interests as well.

Call to Action: Individuals interested in donating plasma can visit the link here to find the nearest licensed plasma collection center near their location.

Source: CSL Behring

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