Celltrion passes early safety trial for anti-COVID-19 antibody as key tests await

Celltrion Group Chairman Jung Jin Seo (Celltrion)

Vaccines get all the headlines, but the use of antibodies to both treat and prevent SARS-CoV-02 infection is an equally major part of the COVID-19 arsenal.

Eli Lilly and partner AbCellera are furthest along in the antibody stakes with an ongoing phase 3 program, but South Korea’s Celltrion, better known for its biosimilar work, is also forging ahead, releasing encouraging safety data this morning as it looks to push on into later-stage trials.

It’s top-line stuff, but the available data showed that CT-P59, its anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody, saw no "significant drug-related adverse events, and importantly there were no adverse events from the maximum tolerated dose cohort.”

It did not give further details, but the test was set up to see how safe the drug could be in preventing the disease.

Bigger trials now await: The phase 1 in mild COVID-19 patients is ongoing, but it is slated to kick-start plans to conduct further global phase 2 and 3 trials.

One will enroll around 3,000 patients and will include those involved in the prevention test, investigating the use of CT-P59 as a preventive treatment for COVID-19 in those in close contact with COVID-19 patients.

Data from this program “should be complete by the first half of 2021.”