The Korea Herald


GC Pharma produces more COVID-19 plasma therapy amid growing demand

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 3, 2020 - 09:12

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This undated photo, provided by South Korean biotech company GC Pharma, shows a company official at its plant. (GC Pharma) This undated photo, provided by South Korean biotech company GC Pharma, shows a company official at its plant. (GC Pharma)
South Korean biotech company GC Pharma has begun additional production of its plasma therapy treatment for the novel coronavirus amid growing demand for treatment purposes, company officials said Tuesday.

The plasma therapy, known as GC5131, is a type of hyperimmune globulin drug that uses blood plasma taken from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19. It is considered one of the earliest treatment options.

The treatment candidate is undergoing clinical trials both at home and abroad, and it has also won emergency approval from local drug authorities for treatment purposes at three hospitals.

"The clinical trial is also expected to speed up, as patient registration at clinical trial institutions has increased as well," said a company official who asked not to be named, adding that it marks the first time for a plasma treatment to be used for treatment purposes.

The company said it is speeding up the production of its third batch and expected to provide it to medical institutions by the end of this month. 

People who have recovered from COVID-19 develop natural defenses against the disease in their blood, in which antibodies are found in the part of the blood called plasma, the company said.

Key to developing potential hyperimmune globulin treatment is the collection of convalescent plasma.

A second-phase clinical trial of the investigative drug is being conducted at six local trial sites, including major general hospital Samsung Medical Center.

CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, a partnership of the world's leading plasma companies including GC Pharma, is also conducting a phase three clinical trial.

The global plasma collaboration was established to accelerate the development of a plasma-derived hyperimmune globulin therapy for COVID-19. The alliance includes global blood product manufacturers, such as BPL, CSL and Takeda.

The global study has skipped both phase one and two clinical trials, GC Pharma said.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the National Institute of Health leads the global study in adult patients with COVID-19. (Yonhap)