Medimmune starts phase I clinical trial to investigate an antibody developed under a collaboration with Humabs BioMed for the treatment of influenza A. The novel antibody developed through Humabs’ Cellclone technology will be investigated a trial being conducted by MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca.
The investigational antibody, which has broad influenza-neutralizing properties, was isolated by Humabs from human memory B cells and further optimized for higher potency by MedImmune. The resulting antibody, MEDI8852, is exclusively licensed to MedImmune. The Phase I trial is designed to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of MEDI8852 in healthy adults.
“Our strong, ongoing partnership and collaborations with Humabs reflect our commitment to seeking out innovative new science and technologies, both within and outside our organization, that can help expedite and advance the development of new medicines for the prevention and treatment of challenging infectious diseases,” said Dr. JoAnn Suzich, vice president of infectious disease research and development at MedImmune.
MEDI8852 binds to a novel site in the hemagglutinin stem region that is shared in viruses from all 18 Influenza A subtypes. This region is highly conserved and is considered to be the “Achilles’ heel” of the virus.
Alcide Barberis, Humabs BioMed´s CEO, added, “The influenza A antibody currently under development by our partner MedImmune is just one example of our broad pipeline of therapeutic antibodies. Our antibodies against infectious diseases, cancer and inflammatory diseases are at various clinical and preclinical stages, with four of them already partnered to global pharma companies.”
Influenza A is a quickly evolving virus with 18 subtypes. The human antibody response is ineffective against most strains belonging to the H1 and H3 subtypes and therefore new vaccines are developed each year to match these strains. Humans are also susceptible to avian flu viruses such as H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2, and to H2, which caused the pandemic of the years 1957-58. It is estimated that millions of people are infected with influenza A viruses every year. Although the majority of infections are mild, those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly, immunocompromised patients or infants, may be at risk for serious complications or even death.