Business & Finance
Bristol Myers Squibb Licenses The Rockefeller University's SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibody Combination for the Treatment of COVID-19
3 February 2021 - - US-based pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and The Rockefeller University have entered into a definitive agreement under which Bristol Myers Squibb has been granted a global exclusive license to develop, manufacture and commercialize Rockefeller's novel monoclonal antibody duo treatment that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus for therapy or prevention of COVID-19, the company said.

Despite the increasing availability of the vaccines, there will continue to be patients who contract COVID-19 and will need treatment for their infection.

This novel treatment is a combination of two mAbs directed at blocking the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and neutralizing the virus.

The mAbs have been engineered to be highly potent and stable, allowing them to last longer in the bloodstream.

Preclinical data suggest that this could enable effective treatment against multiple variants of the virus using a low dose subcutaneous administration, which would increase access to the medicine by eliminating the need for intravenous infusion.

Ultimately, should the clinical development be successful, these advantages could potentially help expand access globally, including to low- and middle-income countries and to communities where healthcare resources are limited--a goal that both institutions will jointly work towards.

Phase 1 clinical trials to assess dosing for IV and subcutaneous formulations, and to assess safety for the mAb duo, were initiated by Rockefeller in mid-January. Planning is underway with the goal of moving rapidly to a registrational program following readout of the phase 1 study taking place at Rockefeller University Hospital.

Included in the terms of the agreement, Rockefeller is entitled to receive royalty payments on future sales. Should the clinical development be successful, Bristol Myers Squibb will work to enable availability and affordability of this potential treatment to patients globally.

Rockefeller has discovered two complementary antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that synergistically neutralize the virus in vitro and in animal models.

The two antibodies have shown activity against several known SARS-CoV-2 mutants and it is believed that their co-administration could reduce the possibility of mutant virus escape.

The two antibodies are potentially unique as pertains to their long half-life in humans and high affinity for the spike protein. The longer half-life has been enabled by leveraging Xencor's Fc engineering technology.

Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb company.

In certain countries outside the US, due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb Company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb Company.

The Rockefeller University is the world's leading biomedical research university and is dedicated to conducting innovative, high-impact research to improve the understanding of life for the benefit of humanity.

The university's unique approach to science, with only 70 faculty, each selected for pursuit of highly innovative ideas, has led to many of the world's most revolutionary and transformative contributions to biology and medicine.

During Rockefeller's 120-year history, Rockefeller scientists have won 26 Nobel Prizes, 24 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, and 20 National Medals of Science.