SAB Biotherapeutics banks $60M more in funding from U.S. officials for COVID-19 antibody

SAB Biotherapeutics has snared another $60.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to fund an antibody program to treat COVID-19.

This brings the total funding SAB's received from the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority and the DOD to $200 million to support development of treatments for the deadly respiratory disease, according to the company’s Wednesday press release.

SAB is developing the polyclonal antibody treatment SAB-185 for non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection who are at risk of disease progression. The therapy is in phase 2/3 clinical testing as part of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored COVID-19 clinical trial called ACTIV-2. SAB just wrapped up enrollment for the midstage portion.

Polyclonal means SAB-185 is made up of several different immune cells that can bind to many different antigens to fight infection. Monoclonal antibodies, on the other hand, are made from a single parent cell and only recognize a single related antigen. Essentially, a polyclonal antibody is capable of launching a multipronged attack on the virus.

The funding comes from the Countermeasures Acceleration Group, formerly known as Operation Warp Speed, which was created to expedite treatment options for COVID-19 in the height of the pandemic. The government is doling out millions to companies with promising therapies that could improve on current standards of care.

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COVID-19 has proven difficult to treat, with variants of the virus plowing through earlier antibody options and requiring even Big Pharmas like Eli Lilly, which initially launched a single monoclonal antibody, to go back to the drawing board.

SAB claims to have the first polyclonal antibody in the ACTIV-2 trial, which encompasses a range of COVID-19 prospects from several different companies.

SAB is currently undergoing a merger with special purpose acquisition company Big Cypress Acquisition Corp. The deal is worth $118 million.