Companies work to develop combo mAb, NK cell COVID-19 therapy

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

August 19, 2020 -- A new research project is bringing together universities and pharmaceutical companies to collaborate on the development of a combination of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) and natural killer (NK) cells as a treatment for COVID-19. The efforts are spearheaded by Harbour BioMed and expand on the company's work in using mAb against SARS-CoV-2.

Additional collaborators include Utrecht University, Erasmus Medical Center, Viroclinics, and Kiadis Pharma. The collaboration will explore the synergies between mAb and NK cells in eliminating SARS-CoV-2 and virally infected cells.

The new product will utilize Kiadis' K-NK cell therapy platform to address the severe lack of functional NK cells in COVID-19 patients. K-NK-Id101 cells potentially have antiviral activity without exacerbating inflammation. The cells can be manufactured at a large scale and frozen down for storage, making global distribution easier.

The fully human, nonblocking antibody, 49F1, targets a conserved region of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and binds to both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in vitro.

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