Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday said they will begin the Phase 3 portion of clinical testing for their experimental coronavirus antibody drug, VIR-7831, following positive safety data from the initial part of the study. Vir and GSK skipped over the usual small Phase 1 safety studies and pushed straight into a mid-stage trial with a plan to expand the test rapidly if the antibody drug was judged to be safe. They will now test whether the drug can prevent COVID-19 from worsening in patients who have been diagnosed with a symptomatic infection. Interim results are expected by the end of the year.
VIR-7831 (also known as GSK4182136) is a fully human anti-SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus-2) monoclonal antibody that was selected based on its potential to neutralize the virus, kill infected cells, provide a high barrier to resistance, and achieve high concentrations in the lungs (one of the major sites of infection). Following a positive assessment of unblinded safety data from the lead-in portion of the trial by an Independent Data Monitoring Committee on September 30, 2020, the COMET-ICE registrational study will now expand globally to additional sites in North America, South America and Europe.
George Scangos, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Vir, said: “The rapid achievement of this important milestone reflects the urgency with which we’re mobilizing our resources in the hope of preventing the worst consequences of this deadly virus. VIR-7831 is an antibody with characteristics that may enable it to prevent hospitalization or death via multiple mechanisms. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with GSK to accelerate its development.”
Dr. Hal Barron, chief scientific officer and president R&D, GSK, said: “Given the urgent patient need, I am very pleased that we have progressed VIR-7831 from pre-clinical studies to a Phase 3 trial in only six months since announcing our collaboration with Vir. We believe this neutralizing antibody’s high barrier to resistance, notable effector function and enhanced delivery into the lung suggest it has best-in-class potential in the fight against this global pandemic.”