The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise, including the pharmaceutical industry. Given that coronavirus is transmitted directly or indirectly, there was no time to develop a vaccine or a cure. This resulted in a rapid spread to date. However, most biotechs and pharmaceuticals have turned to collaborations, and the latest is between Ibio Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN:IBIO) and Planet Biotechnology Inc.
The two have signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement for the development of ACE2-Fc, a COVID-19 therapeutic candidate from Planet. The terms of the agreement gave iBio rights to the recombinant protein, and in return, Planet is entitled to receive certain pre-specified payments once clinical development milestones have been accomplished.
ACE2-Fc Targets the Coronavirus Virions Directly
There has been so much talk regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how soon a vaccine would be available. As of today, there are hundreds of trials in different stages going on. There is no certainty when all this mess would come to an end, even though there seems to be some hope in ACE2-Fc.
The novel immunoadhesin molecule consists of human angiotensin, which converts enzyme 2 (ACE2) fused to a human immunoglobulin G Fc fragment (Fc). It also has the potential of being re-designed in the FastPharming® System and uses the ACE2 extracellular domain to aim at the coronavirus virions directly. This is according to the CEO of iBio, Tom Isett, who says that this design is expected to bring forth the benefit of a traditional neutralizing antibody.
“We believe the molecule may be effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection… to address mutations in the current virus, if any, as well as future coronaviral diseases,” Isett added.
iBio is an Ideal Partner for Manufacturing Plant-based Biopharmaceuticals
iBio is somewhat equipped to take the development of products from regulatory approval levels to commercialization. It is committed to the quality system; hence it is an ideal partner for manufacturing operations. According to Planet’s president and CEO, Elliot Fineman, any plant-based biopharmaceutical seeking to scale-up its manufacturing capabilities should reach out to iBio. The company has vast experience and is still exercising continuous improvement.