RQ Biotechnology (London) emerged from stealth mode today, saying that AstraZeneca will pay it up to $157 million plus royalties for its existing mAbs against SARS-CoV-2.
“Our vision is to build on our successful debut with neutralizing antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 and develop innovative medicines to address current and evolving unmet needs in other viral infectious diseases,” said Hugo Fry, a former Sanofi executive who is CEO of RQ Bio.
“By combining our expertise and innovative excellence in core areas, we have created a smarter approach to antibody generation, making us uniquely positioned to deliver fast patient impact,” Fry said in a news release.
The agreement gives AstraZeneca an exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize mAbs against SARS-CoV-2.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape for immune therapies, including the use of monoclonal antibodies to protect vulnerable patients who can’t respond adequately to vaccination alone. Scientific innovation is rapidly accelerating, and this agreement reflects our continued commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to help prevent and treat infectious disease, including COVID-19,” said Iskra Reic, EVP of Vaccines & Immune Therapies at AstraZeneca.
The University of Oxford and the UK medical research charity LifeArc will continue to support RQ Bio.
The licensing agreement comes amid growing demand for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments that are efficacious against a wide variety of variants. As the virus continues to mutate, existing monoclonal antibody treatments have lost efficacy. The arrival of the omicron variant in the U.S. caused a pause in the distribution of bamlanivimab plus etesevimab, casirivimab plus imdevimab, and sotrovimab.
U.S. officials are warning that the country could see another wave of COVID cases this fall, so there is heightened urgency to develop new vaccines and treatments.
Filed Under: Immunology, Infectious Disease