AP NEWS
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Vir Biotechnology and WuXi Biologics Announce Collaboration for Global Development of Antibodies to Treat COVID-19

February 25, 2020 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO and SHANGHAI, China, Feb. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) and WuXi Biologics (stock code: 2269.HK) today announced a development and manufacturing collaboration to advance and produce human monoclonal antibodies for the potential treatment of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will work together on the clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of Vir’s proprietary antibodies. WuXi Biologics will conduct cell-line development, process and formulation development, and initial manufacturing for clinical development. If the antibodies receive regulatory approvals, WuXi Biologics has the rights to commercialize therapies in Greater China, and Vir has the rights to commercialize therapies in all other markets worldwide.

Vir has identified a number of monoclonal antibodies that bind to SARS-CoV-2. These antibodies were isolated from individuals who had survived a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) infection. The company is conducting research to determine if its antibodies, or additional antibodies that it may be able to identify, can be effective as treatment and/or prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2.

“We are acutely aware of the importance of moving rapidly in response to COVID-19,” said George A. Scangos, Ph.D., CEO of Vir Biotechnology. “In the event that we are in a position to develop an antibody therapy, our agreement with WuXi Biologics enables us to accelerate advancement against this global threat.”

“Both WuXi Biologics and Vir felt the great urgency to develop antibodies to treat global patients provided they work in the clinic. Our state-of-the-art technology platform and robust global-quality supply network make us uniquely qualified in expediting the development and manufacturing of these potential treatments,” commented Chris Chen, Ph.D., CEO of WuXi Biologics. “Once again WuXi Biologics is collaborating with global biotech companies such as Vir to expedite biologics development to benefit patients worldwide.”

About Vir’s Antibody Platform

Vir has a robust method for capitalizing on unusually successful immune responses naturally occurring in people who are protected from, or have recovered from, infectious diseases. The platform is used to identify rare antibodies from survivors that have the potential to treat and prevent rapidly evolving and/or previously untreatable pathogens via direct pathogen neutralization and immune system stimulation. Vir engineers the fully human antibodies that it discovers to enhance their therapeutic potential. This platform has been used to identify and develop antibodies for pathogens including Ebola (mAb114, currently in use in the Democratic Republic of Congo), hepatitis B virus, influenza A, malaria, and others.

About Vir Biotechnology

Vir Biotechnology is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on combining immunologic insights with cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases. Vir has assembled four technology platforms that are designed to stimulate and enhance the immune system by exploiting critical observations of natural immune processes. Its current development pipeline consists of five product candidates targeting hepatitis B virus, influenza A, human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis. For more information, please visit www.vir.bio.

About WuXi Biologics

WuXi Biologics (stock code: 2269.HK), a Hong Kong-listed company, is a leading global open-access biologics technology platform offering end-to-end solutions to empower organizations to discover, develop and manufacture biologics from concept to commercial manufacturing. Our company history and achievements demonstrate our commitment to providing a truly ONE-stop service offering and strong value proposition to our global clients. As of June 30, 2019, there were a total of 224 integrated projects, including 106 projects in pre-clinical development stage, 102 projects in early-phase (phase I and II) clinical development, 15 projects in late-phase (phase III) development and one project in commercial manufacturing. With total estimated capacity for biopharmaceutical production planned in China, Ireland, Singapore and the U.S. exceeding 280,000 liters by 2022, we will provide our biomanufacturing partners with a robust and premier-quality global supply chain network. For more information on WuXi Biologics, please visit www.wuxibiologics.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “potential” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Vir’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Each of these forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include statements regarding the company’s efforts to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus and identify additional potential therapies for SARS-CoV-2, and its ability to address the emerging public health epidemic. Many factors may cause differences between current expectations and actual results including unexpected safety or efficacy data observed during preclinical or clinical studies, challenges in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2, difficulty in collaborating with other companies or government agencies, and challenges in accessing manufacturing capacity within China. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements in this press release are discussed in Vir’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the section titled “Risk Factors” contained therein. Except as required by law, Vir assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in expectations, even as new information becomes available.

Contact: Vir Biotechnology, Inc. Investors Neera Ravindran, MD Head of Investor Relations & Strategic Communications nravindran@vir.bio +1-415-506-5256 Media Lindy Devereux Scient PR lindy@scientpr.com +1-646-515-5730 WuXi Biologics Media Kevin Huang PhD kevin_huang@wuxiapptec.com