World News

China's BeiGene to start human testing of COVID-19 antibody treatment in September

(Reuters) - China-based drugmaker BeiGene Ltd 6160.HKBGNE.O said on Thursday that an early-stage human study to test its COVID-19 antibody treatment will begin in September.

The trial will enroll 30 healthy people in Australia, while the enrollment for another larger trial in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 is expected to start in early October, the company said.

BeiGene entered into a license agreement with Singlomics Biopharmaceuticals Co Ltd to develop, manufacture and sell the privately held company’s investigational anti-COVID-19 antibodies outside greater China.

Under the agreement, BeiGene aims to develop one or more of these antibodies globally outside of greater China, while Singlomics will keep the rights in greater China, the companies said.

Singlomics will get an upfront payment and will receive more on successful milestones. It will also get royalties on future product sales.

Antibody therapies use antibodies generated by infected humans or animals to fight the disease in patients.

In general, the goal of a vaccine is to generate an immune response that can prevent someone from getting ill with a disease, whereas antibody-derived products are generally designed to treat disease.

Reporting by Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur