To speed treatments, global biotech leader CSL offers to lend the company’s expertise in science and manufacturing.
By Anthony Farina – Chief Communications Officer, CSL Limited | 23 Mar 2020
As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases mount, global biotech leader CSL has formally offered to help governments around the world by lending its expertise, technologies and facilities to help support rapid, scaled development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments.
The company is exploring development of a hyperimmune serum that could be derived from the blood plasma of people who have recovered from coronavirus. Once an adequate number of recovered patients is identified, it’s our hope that CSL could begin to collect their plasma and create a hyperimmune serum enriched with COV-19 antibodies to use as a therapy.
Though more research and testing is necessary, it’s believed that antibodies found in the plasma of now-healthy COVID-19 patients could potentially be used to boost the immune response of those who are struggling with the infection. By now it is well known that coronavirus causes mild flu-like symptoms in many, but others who are older than 60 or have additional medical conditions are at high risk of fatal complications.
CSL would need assistance from governments to locate recovered patients as possible donors of their antibodies. The company, with global operational headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and facilities across the U.S., Europe, Australia and China has made this offer to the World Health Organization and key governments.
Of course, we aren’t the only company searching for an effective response to COVID-19, now a global pandemic. But we feel we are in an excellent position to help. Our core business is the development and large-scale manufacture of plasma-based therapies, recombinant proteins and influenza vaccines. CSL Behring, one of CSL’s businesses, is the largest global provider of plasma-based therapies for chronic, life-threatening conditions, such as hemophilia and primary immunodeficiency.
That means we have existing expertise and infrastructure to collect plasma, scientists who are experts in plasma and its components, and manufacturing sites around the world that already produce plasma-derived medicines. CSL could rapidly produce hyperimmune coronavirus treatments at our facilities in the U.S., Australia, Switzerland and Germany.
Though CSL isn’t directly working on a coronavirus vaccine, our scientists are available to consult and collaborate with other teams. Already, the company’s researchers are providing scientific and technical production advice to coronavirus vaccine research teams at the University of Queensland in Australia. Also, we’ve extended an offer of our Seqirus business’s proprietary MF59® adjuvant technology. An adjuvant is a substance that’s added to some vaccines to increase the immune response and to reduce the amount of antigen needed so that more doses can be manufactured more rapidly. Seqirus, one of the world’s largest influenza vaccine providers, is already providing MF59® to teams researching coronavirus vaccines and is in discussions with governments and global health nonprofits about its potential use in other projects.
Global innovation will be critically important in this uncertain time. In that spirit, CSL has extended our offer of our plasma-specific expertise, our scientists and our manufacturing capability to help the governments of countries in which we operate around the world. Our offer is reflective of why we are so driven by our promise to people, patients and public health.
Seqirus is part of CSL Limited (ASX:CSL).