Brii Biosciences, Chinese Partners Set to Develop COVID-19 Antibodies
Brii Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company with a Durham presence, is collaborating with Chinese scientists to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize monoclonal antibodies to fight COVID-19.
Researchers in the laboratories of Professor Linqi Zhang at Beijing’s Tsinghua University and Professor Zheng Zhang at 3rd People’s Hospital of Shenzhen are analyzing antibodies in blood from patients who recovered from COVID-19. They have identified some antibodies that may block the new coronavirus from entering cells. Further research will prove if the antibodies are helpful in treating or preventing COVID-19.
“We have been able to move very quickly by virtue of our proximity to the initial outbreak and our expertise from prior research in SARS and MERS,” said Linqi Zhang.
The university and hospital, together with Brii Bio, intend to advance multiple candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic intervention of the virus. The team hopes to have first-in-human clinical trials for a lead development candidate by the third quarter of this year.
Tsinghua and collaborators at 3rd People’s Hospital will provide capabilities and researchers to ensure all necessary testing, screening, virologic, biochemical and cell culture characterizations. Brii Bio will provide development expertise, antibody optimization, intellectual protection, project management, CDMO management, and clinical and regulatory oversight.
“Our collaboration with Tsinghua University and 3rd People’s Hospital of Shenzhen perfectly aligns with Brii Bio’s mission to make significant contributions to public health throughout the world,” said Zhi Hong, Ph.D., CEO of Brii Bio.
Brii Bio, with operations in the United States and the People’s Republic of China, develops treatments for illnesses with significant public health burdens including infectious diseases.
Shenzhen No. 3 People’s Hospital, founded by the Shenzhen Municipal Government, is the largest infectious diseases general hospital in southern China. The hospital is committed to the clinical diagnosis, treatment and research of major infectious diseases with extensive experience in major epidemics such as SARS, H5N1 and H9N1 avian influenza, MERS, and SAR-CoV-2, the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.