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business | IST

Biocon Biologics partners with Adagio Therapeutics for new COVID antibody treatment

Biocon Biologics has partnered with Adagio Therapeutics for a COVID antibody treatment in India and some select emerging markets. The drug (ADG20) has the potential to address COVID variants including the delta variant and can be administered as a single intramuscular injection. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon Biologics, discussed this further with CNBC-TV18.

Biocon Biologics has partnered with Adagio Therapeutics for a COVID antibody treatment in India and some select emerging markets. The drug (ADG20) has the potential to address COVID variants including the delta variant and can be administered as a single intramuscular injection. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon Biologics, discussed this further with CNBC-TV18.
“COVID management requires both vaccines and treatments, if we are to really be protected and stay safe. COVID has become an endemic from a pandemic. And I think, we need to make sure that we have very effective treatments in terms of breakthrough infections, and first-time infections, or repeat infections. So, I think without such treatments, it's going to be very difficult just to rely on vaccines. So, from that point of view, this drug has huge potential,” she said.
She further mentioned, this is the only antibody drug to date, which is a single intramuscular jab, compared to all the other antibody therapies that are being developed or are in the market. So that's what makes it very unique.
She further added, “This is an antibody that actually neutralizes Delta variants and many other variants. And it is one of the few antibodies known to have dealt with all the variants to date. So, I think that's what makes it possibly an interesting opportunity even for Adagio to see if they get some early readouts, where they can do it earlier in terms of request for approval, I have no idea. But certainly, they've indicated the first quarter of next calendar year. Adagio itself has indicated that they hope to file for emergency use approval in the Q1FY22. So, if it is approved, then obviously it could be in the market.”
In terms of the trials, they are doing many trials, one of them is a prophylactic trial, because this particular antibody has a very long durability of response and it is also very important to point out that there are many vulnerable and immune-compromised populations that may not respond well to vaccines. So, this is another very effective way of dealing with that, she added.
In terms of the commercials of this deal in terms of royalty or milestone payments, she explained, “It is a profit-sharing deal. We have a very shared worldview of how to make an impact on global healthcare. That is what makes it a very large potential. We are quite excited with the market opportunity and the fact that this will be a very novel treatment to deal with COVID-19.”
On price point, she said, “We believe that because we have a partnership that involves manufacturing, we can also come in at a very affordable price point in emerging markets, especially India.”
On Itolizumab and Remdesivir, Kiran stated, “There is obviously a reduction in demand from the peak that we witnessed during the second wave. It is good that things are stabilizing, and that the demand for these drugs is coming down, but then everyone's also beginning to prepare for a third wave. So, people are looking at seeing whether they need to, again, have some small amount of stockpiling in preparedness.”
She believes offtake of COVID-19 vaccines from private sector has reduced as need is satiated.
“As far as the private sector is concerned, our first requirement was to vaccinate employees. And most corporates have done that. Everyone has basically vaccinated their employees, their families and neighbouring communities at a time when they were able to get whatever vaccines they could. Now that they have done that, they believe that now it will be the government who will be vaccinating the rest of the people. So, I think today the private sector has satiated its needs and the government has to step up vaccination,” she explained.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.