Eli Lilly has collaborated with Junshi Biosciences for the development of therapeutic antibodies to treat and prevent Covid-19, the disease resulted due to the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
Junshi Biosciences, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company, is working to discover therapies to combat Covid-19 from the starting of the outbreak. The company has designed multiple neutralising antibodies and its lead asset is expected to enter clinical testing in the second quarter.
Junshi Biosciences CEO Dr Ning Li said: “Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have been working diligently to join the fight against the pandemic. Entering into this agreement with Lilly empowers us to accelerate the clinical development of Junshi SARS-CoV-2 antibodies globally.”
Under the deal, Lilly will secure an exclusive licence to carry out clinical development, manufacturing and distribution of products outside of Greater China. Junshi will hold all rights in Greater China.
Junshi’s JS016 is a recombinant fully human monoclonal neutralising antibody, which is specific to the SARS-CoV-2 surface spike protein receptor-binding domain. It is expected to efficiently block the binding of viruses to host cell surface receptor ACE2.
Junshi, along with the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science, has developed the project related to SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
Junshi has completed IND enabling pre-clinical studies, the process development and production for GLP toxicity study, as well as the GMP production of clinical material by leveraging its platform technology within two months.
Junshi and Lilly plan to submit an IND application and commence clinical studies in the US in the second quarter of the year.
The company is also coordinating with the Center for Drug Evaluation of the National Medical Products Administration to begin the IND application submission in China.
Lilly Research Laboratories president and chief scientific officer Dr Daniel Skovronsky said: “The data generated by Junshi Biosciences suggest the lead antibody may have appropriate properties to support testing its therapeutic use in patients as well as exploring its potential for preventing infection in at-risk individuals.”
In April, Eli Lilly entered into a potential $880m research deal with Sitryx to discover and develop new immunometabolic medicines.