Vir Biotechnology has emerged as one of the most active companies to prepare its investigational therapies for the novel coronavirus.
Since the seriousness of the outbreak became apparent, Vir has signed a number of partnerships looking at progressing its lead candidates against COVID-19, which extended to a deal with Samsung Biologics for the large-scale manufacture of VIR-7831 and VIR-7832.
The deal sees Samsung Biologics expected to begin the first engineering run of the monoclonal antibodies by October, before commercial batches are readied at the beginning of 2021.
Signifying how quickly the industry is moving, the agreement is only a provisional one, with additional terms expected to be negotiated and a definitive agreement to be made prior to the end of July.
At the estimation of the initial part of the agreement, the deal will be worth $362m (€330m) to Samsung Biologics.
Vir stated that it is planning to enter Phase II clinical trials in the next three to five months, a timeline that was first revealed when the company signed a partnership with GSK.
During this announcement, it was stated that GSK would invest $250m into Vir, as well as working to speed-up the development of the potential treatments against COVID-19.
Prior to this, Vir had also announced two partnerships to ensure the company had the production capacity secured should either treatment prove successful in clinical trials and therefore need to meet global demand.
Initially, Vir signed a development and commercialization agreement with WuXi Biologics, which would see the latter contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) be responsible for cell-line development, process and formulation development, and clinical manufacture.
Part of the deal would also see WuXi receive the rights to commercialize any potential treatment in Greater China.
Following this, Vir also announced a similar manufacturing agreement with Biogen.
With three manufacturing agreements under its belt, CEO of the company, George Scangos, explained: “We are taking proactive steps to reserve large-scale manufacturing capacity to be ready to move quickly with any of our antibody candidates that prove to be clinically safe and effective.”