The UK Bio Industry Association, BIA, Antibody Taskforce, a leading UK consortium developing antibodies to treat COVID-19, has identified differentiated antibody combinations that will be taken forward for further development as a potential antibody “cocktail.” The Taskforce developed an accelerated and rigorous approach to create a pool of over 600 novel candidates and identified a set of antibodies with the greatest potential.
Taskforce members Alchemab, a resident BioEscalator company, is utilising its cutting-edge antibody platform to identify clusters of protective antibodies from patient samples. The approach taken is unbiased, meaning that it has the potential to identify therapeutic antibodies with a range of functions including spike-binding, non-spike binding and protective auto-antibodies. The team have identified more than 140 antibody candidates that are currently being evaluated as part of the BIA Antibody Taskforce.
Dr Jane Osbourn OBE, CSO at Alchemab and leader of the Taskforce stated 'We have accelerated the standard timelines for antibody discovery, taking seven months rather than the industry standard 18 months, establishing a pathway that can be applied to future pandemics. We believe that the most effective tool against COVID-19 will most likely be a defined mixture of two to three antibodies - so the effectiveness of different combinations must also be assessed.'
The next phase of the project will involve manufacturing of the selected antibody cocktails to support initial clinical trials in 2021, to provide essential safety and efficacy data.