Shanghai Junshi Biosciences begins human tests for new coronavirus antibody drug
Shanghai Junshi Biosciences has started an early-stage study in China to test a potential antibody treatment against the coronavirus in uninfected people, official paper Liberation Daily said on its online channel on Sunday.
The experimental drug, JS016, is also expected to begin human study in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year through a collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company (LLY).
It is the world's first clinical trial of new coronavirus neutralizing antibodies in healthy subjects. The experimental drug has independent intellectual property rights in China and aims to provide the basis for exploring the therapeutic and preventive effect of JS016 against the novel coronavirus in humans.
Feng Hui, chief operating officer at Junshi, told the media that the company hopes the antibodies isolated from the blood of recovered COVID-19 and engineered with the aid researchers can also protect healthy people who are at high risk of infection, such as medical workers and the elderly, from getting the virus.
The clinical trial adopted randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled research methods and was conducted by Professor Zhang Jing and Professor Zhang Wenhong from Huashan Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai.
The clinical trial's main purpose is to evaluate the drug resistance, safety, pharmacokinetics, and immunogenicity of JS016 in healthy Chinese volunteers.
Shanghai Junshi Biosciences, a China-based biopharmaceutical company, is among a few biotech firms and research institutes backed by global pharmaceutical giants to work on antibody-based therapies to help those infected with the fast-spreading new coronavirus, which has killed nearly 400,000 globally.