Biogen and Vir in COVID-19 Collaboration

13.03.2020 -

Biogen and Vir Biotechnology, the new company of its former Biogen CEO George Scangos, have signed a letter of intent to develop and manufacture a new antibody to fight COVID-19. The companies said their collaboration is still subject to final agreements, but due to the urgency of the crisis they have already started work.

Scangos is also in charge of the Biotechnology Industry Organization's coronavirus response.

Under the terms of the envisioned agreement, Biogen will have responsibility for working out cell line development, process development and handling clinical manufacturing for Vir's monoclonal antibodies.

Vir said the antibodies it has discovered bind to the novel coronavirus, and it is now testing whether they can treat or prevent the infection.

As Biogen is one of the global leaders in cell line and process development for advanced biologics, tapping into its capabilities will provide Vir with a US base for supply and manufacture of antibody therapies, Scangos said in a statement.

According to trade journal Fierce Pharma, Vir recently expanded its RNAi partnership with Alnylam to explore whether the technology might be able to address the novel coronavirus. Those companies had entered an infectious disease collaboration back in 2017.

Ironically, a Biogen corporate meeting in late February is now linked to more than 80 cases of the new virus strain.