South Korea’s Celltrion Nears Completion of Covid-19 Antibody Drug

October 15, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea—South Korean drugmaker Celltrion Inc announced Monday, October 12, it has received regulatory approval for Phase 3 clinical trials of an experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment drug.

CT-P59 antibody-drug will most likely be approved for emergency distribution by the end of the year in the United States and South Korea. Celltrion’s CT-P59 is an anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody, meaning antibodies cloned from special white blood cells.

Thousands of candidates have taken CT-P59 globally and have reported near-perfect safety results with strong tolerability and pharmacokinetics in healthy subjects the last few months, according to BioWorld.

Celltrion’s treatment is believed to be one of the most advanced antibody drugs in the world and is specifically engineered to attack the surface of the coronavirus and designed to block it from locking onto human cells. Not bad for a country smaller than the state of Ohio.

Third stage trials will be conducted on some 1,000 asymptomatic coronavirus patients and those who have come into close contact with COVID-19 patients in South Korea, according to Reuters.

Commercial production of CT-P59 began in September and nearly 1 million doses have been produced—in anticipation of demand in both Korean and overseas markets.

62-year-old self-made South Korean entrepreneur Seo Jung-jin was worth $8.3 billion in April, up $2.2. billion since March 18, according to Forbes. Now within a few months, he’s worth $10 billion, according to Bloomberg. This makes Seo Jung-jin the 2nd richest man in South Korea, right below Samsung’s third-generation chairman, Lee Kun-hee, and his $16.8 billion.

Jung-jin is the founder of the biotech company, Celltrion. Human trials have begun for Celltrion’s antiviral antibody treatment against Covid-19. “We are also on track with the development of a ‘super antibody’ or ‘an antibody cocktail’ and the launch of a rapid self-testing diagnostic kit this summer,” stated Kwon Ki-sung, Celltrion’s head of research and development back in July.

These new self-testing kits are able to provide results within 15 to 20 minutes.

Feature Image via Nikkei Asia

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