– Vir to continue advancing next-generation COVID-19 solutions independently or with other partners –
– The Companies will continue working together to ensure ongoing access to sotrovimab for patients around the world, where authorized, and to advance new therapies for influenza and other respiratory diseases –
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) today announced that the research collaboration agreement established with GSK in 2020 has been amended to reflect that Vir will continue its ongoing efforts to discover, develop and advance next-generation solutions for COVID-19 and other potential coronavirus outbreaks, independently or with other partners. Together, the Companies will continue working to ensure ongoing access to sotrovimab for patients around the world, where authorized, and to develop new therapies for influenza and other respiratory diseases.
George Scangos, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Vir Biotechnology, said: “Our rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ability to provide an important new treatment option to millions of patients around the world was made possible through our collaboration with GSK. Together, we remain committed to sotrovimab and to continuing to build on our successful partnership through the development of new solutions for respiratory diseases. Our collaborative efforts have also yielded a compelling portfolio of next-generation coronavirus solutions that, given Vir’s infectious disease expertise, we plan to pursue independently. We look forward to advancing both efforts simultaneously and continuing to support urgent patient needs.”
About the Collaboration
In April 2020, GSK and Vir entered into a collaboration to research and develop solutions for coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The collaboration used Vir’s proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be developed as therapeutic or preventive options to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks. In 2021, the Companies expanded their collaboration to include the research and development of new therapies for influenza and other respiratory viruses.
Under the terms of the new amended agreement, Vir retains the sole rights to continue advancing next-generation solutions arising from the collaborative coronavirus vaccine and antibody programs, subject to tiered low- to mid-single digit royalties to GSK. The Companies continue to collaborate on sotrovimab and VIR-7832, as well as a portfolio of other respiratory disease programs.
Sotrovimab is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing monoclonal antibody. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 shared with SARS-CoV-1 (the virus that causes SARS), indicating that the epitope is conserved. Sotrovimab, which incorporates Xencor, Inc.’s Xtend™ technology, has also been designed to achieve high concentration in the lungs to ensure optimal penetration into airway tissues affected by SARS-CoV-2 and to have an extended half-life. Sotrovimab is currently not authorized in the US.
Vir’s Commitment to COVID-19
Vir was founded with the mission of addressing the world’s most serious infectious diseases. In 2020, Vir responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging our unique scientific insights and industry-leading antibody platform to explore multiple monoclonal antibodies as potential therapeutic or preventive options for COVID-19. Sotrovimab is the first SARS-CoV-2-targeting antibody Vir advanced into the clinic. It was carefully selected for its demonstrated promise in preclinical research and potential ability to both block the virus from entering healthy cells and clear infected cells. Vir is continuing to pursue novel therapeutic and prophylactic solutions to combat SARS-CoV-2 and future coronavirus pandemics, both independently and in collaboration with its partners.
About Vir Biotechnology
Vir Biotechnology is a commercial-stage immunology company focused on combining immunologic insights with cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases. Vir has assembled four technology platforms that are designed to stimulate and enhance the immune system by exploiting critical observations of natural immune processes. Its current development pipeline consists of product candidates targeting COVID-19, hepatitis B and hepatitis D viruses, influenza A and human immunodeficiency virus. Vir routinely posts information that may be important to investors on its website.
Vir Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “plan,” “potential,” “aim,” “promising” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Vir’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the ability of sotrovimab to treat and/or prevent COVID-19, Vir’s collaboration with GSK, the ability of sotrovimab to maintain activity against currently circulating variants, and Vir’s plans for sotrovimab, its COVID-19 portfolio and its influenza portfolio. Many factors may cause differences between current expectations and actual results, including unexpected safety or efficacy data observed during preclinical or clinical studies, challenges in the treatment of hospitalized patients, difficulties in collaborating with other companies or government agencies, successful development and/or commercialization of alternative product candidates by Vir’s competitors, changes in expected or existing competition, delays in or disruptions to Vir’s business or clinical trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical changes or other external factors, and unexpected litigation or other disputes. Drug development and commercialization involve a high degree of risk, and only a small number of research and development programs result in commercialization of a product. Early-stage clinical trial results may not be indicative of full results or results from later stage or larger scale clinical trials and do not ensure regulatory approval. You should not place undue reliance on these statements or the scientific data presented. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements in this press release are discussed in Vir’s filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the section titled “Risk Factors” contained therein. Except as required by law, Vir assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in expectations, even as new information becomes available.
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