Vir Biotechnology (NSDQ:VIR) with its partner GSK (LSE/NYSE:GSK) recently announced growing traction for the investigational COVID-19 monoclonal antibody sotrovimab.
Now, San Francisco–based Vir has expanded its partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to focus on developing broadly neutralizing antibodies intended to provide a “vaccinal effect” for treating HIV and preventing malaria.
Vir Biotechnology hopes to develop a functional cure for HIV, which it describes as “life-long control of the virus after a finite duration of therapy.”
A 2021 paper on a functional cure of HIV published in Frontiers in Microbiology describes the goal of silencing the HIV-1 virus rather than eradicating it.
The privately-held company American Gene Technologies (Rockville, Maryland) is also aiming to develop a functional cure for the virus with AGT103-T, a single dose, autologous cell therapy. The drug candidate is now in a Phase 1 trial.
Founded in 2016, Vir Biotechnology announced a strategic collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that same year in which Vir received an investment of $20 million.
In the latest partnership, the Gates Foundation will provide another $40 million equity investment and a $10 million grant.
In the latest phase of the partnership, Vir Biotechnology plans on testing the potential of broadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV patients and whether they yield durable suppression of HIV.
The partnership will also investigate the potential of Vir antibodies to prevent malaria.
The company has used vaccinal antibodies in its pipeline of drug candidates for SARS-CoV-2, chronic hepatitis B virus and influenza A product candidates.
Its current pipeline includes the potential hepatitis B virus drugs VIR-2218 and VIR-3434. VIR-2482 targets influenza A. Other pipeline candidates include VIR-1111 for HIV and VIR-2020 for tuberculosis.
Today, VIR shares had 2.52% in mid-day trading to $36.68.
A recent SEC filing revealed that Director Vicki L. Sato sold 15,174 VIR shares on October 19, 2021. A separate filing showed that Vir’s chief scientific officer Dr. Herbert Virgin sold 1,375 VIR shares on January 11.
Filed Under: Infectious Disease