A group led by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited TAK has begun manufacturing a blood plasma treatment for COVID-19, even as late-stage human testing remains pending, the company’s CEO Christophe Weber told Reuters Monday.
What Happened: The CoVIg Plasma Alliance, composed of CSL Behring, Biotest AG as well as other firms, began Phase 3 testing last Friday after the trials were delayed for months, according to Reuters.
The trial reportedly aims to enroll 500 adult patients from the United States, Mexico, and 16 other countries. The results are expected by the end of the year.
Weber told Reuters, “The likelihood [the treatment] works is very high.” He revealed that the group is launching a campaign to hasten the donation of convalescent plasma to aid in manufacturing.
Why It Matters: The group’s hyperimmune globulin therapy offers a standardized dose of antibodies and can be given across blood types.
The treatment is purportedly more advanced than the administration of convalescent plasma from former patients but is expensive to manufacture.
Weber told Reuters that COVIg Alliance does not intend to profit from the treatment.
The CEO admitted that the treatment is more expensive to manufacture than monoclonal antibody therapies under development by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN and Eli Lilly and Co LLY.
This week, Regeneron’s CEO Leonard Schleifer said more testing was needed to measure his company’s antibody cocktail’s effectiveness against COVID-19.
Price Action: Takeda shares closed nearly 0.6% at $17.89 on Monday and gained 0.78% in the after-hours session.
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