AstraZeneca Begins Phase 1 Trial for Monoclonal Antibody Combination for COVID-19


Company says investigational therapeutic could afford at least 6 months of protection from the virus.

AstraZeneca announced this morning it has started its phase 1 clinical trial for AZD7442, its investigational therapy which is in development for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

This therapeutic could afford at least 6 months of protection from COVID-19, according to a statement released by the company.

AZD7442 is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) derived from convalescent patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Discovered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and licensed to AstraZeneca in June 2020, the mAbs were optimized by AstraZeneca with half-life extension and reduced Fc receptor binding.

“This trial is an important milestone in the development of our monoclonal antibody combination to prevent or treat COVID-19,” Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeenca, said. “This combination of antibodies, coupled to our proprietary half-life extension technology, has the potential to improve both the effectiveness and durability of use in addition to reducing the likelihood of viral resistance.”

The trial, called NCT04507256, will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of AZD7442. The trial will include up to 48 healthy participants in the UK aged 18 to 55 years and is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the US Department of Defense, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

In what could be an emerging trend looking at treatment and prevention for COVID-19, Roche and Regeneron announced just last week they were collaborating in developing a therapy for both people with existing COVID-19 as well as looking at it for prophylaxis treatment.

Synthesised in the laboratory, mAbs aim to mimic natural antibodies. The treatment has the potential to be given as a preventative option for people exposed to the virus, and to treat and prevent disease progression in patients already infected by the virus.

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