Tsinghua University has joined forces with 3rd People’s Hospital of Shenzhen and Brii Biosciences (Brii Bio) to develop neutralising antibodies against COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
The parties, which have signed a partnership and license agreement, have agreed to discover, develop, manufacture, and commercialise fully human neutralising monoclonal antibodies to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers at Tsinghua University and 3rd People’s Hospital of Shenzhen are said to have identified various diverse and potent neutralising monoclonal antibodies that are claimed to have therapeutic potential against SARS CoV-2. These antibodies have been characterised from coronavirus patients in China who have recovered from their infection, said the partners.
Based on the research, the university and hospital alongside Brii Bio plan to push forward multiple candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic intervention.
Professor Linqi Zhang from Tsinghua University said: “We have been able to move very quickly by virtue of our proximity to the initial outbreak and our expertise from prior research in SARS and MERS.
“Our investigators have worked day and night since the beginning of the outbreak. With Brii Bio joining and the dedicated focus afforded by this new venture, we expect to accelerate our development efforts with the shared goal of bringing forward an effective therapy to benefit people around the world affected by this pandemic.”
The partners said that they are seeking to achieve a fast-tracked timeline of six months from the selection of a lead development candidate for COVID-19 to the first-in-human clinical trials, with the possibility for additional timeline acceleration.
Tsinghua University and collaborators at 3rd People’s Hospital of Shenzhen will offer capabilities with their researchers to ensure all the required testing, screening, virologic, biochemical, and cell culture characterisations.
Brii Bio will be responsible for development expertise, antibody optimisation, project management, intellectual protection, management of contract development and manufacturing, and also clinical and regulatory oversight.
Brii Bio CEO Zhi Hong said: “With a shared vision, the collaboration marries the abilities of Tsinghua University and 3rd People’s Hospital of Shenzhen to rapidly discover antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 with Brii Bio’s development expertise in infectious diseases to create an innovative collaboration model and bring the best people together to address the current public health challenge and ones to come.”