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Yuhan-AbClon’s COVID-19 antibody therapy revs up for trials

Yuhan and AbClon have joined the list of companies that are in the race to develop a therapy for COVID-19.

Although they are still in the animal-testing stage, they have identified a multifariously adaptive candidate for COVID-19 therapy which they plan to begin testing on humans before the year-end.

Since February, AbClon had been running its Novel Epitope Screening Technology platform to identify antibody candidates for the epidemic.

The company has identified 20 antibodies that wholly cuts off the human ACE2 protein from binding with the coronavirus’ spike protein, of which it has now derived a final and optimal candidate.

In a laboratory setting, this antibody has shown neutralizing effects against both the “S-strain” and the “G-strain” mutations of the SARS CoV-2 virus, according to Yuhan and AbClon.

The S-strain is prevalent in the Asia region while the G-strain is widespread in the US, Europe and recently, in South Korea.

The biopharma firms said their antibody has the flexibility to take on rapid mutations of the coronavirus.

They have formed a task force team comprised of experienced scientists who are burning the midnight oil to develop a cell line and the sample drugs for animal and human tests.

AbClon is a biotech that specializes in development of novel antibody drugs. Yuhan has accumulated years of know-how in clinical test designing and approval applications in Korea.

To aid the companies to resolve the global pandemic crisis, Korea’s Ministry of Health has assigned a budget of 45 billion won ($37.5 million) for clinical trials of COVID-19 treatments.

In order to win the grant, companies must have their clinical trial design approved and passed by the government.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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