A biologic therapy for influenza A has been granted Fast Track Designation from the US FDA.
The therapy is based on an antibody (MEDI8852) that was initially developed by Humabs. This Biotech used human memory B-cells from patients that recovered from influenza to isolate an antibody with broad influenza-neutralising properties.
This idea of studying the immune system of people who overcame the targeted disease is the basis for their drug discovery platform, Cellclone, which allows Humabs to discover antibodies quickly. These antibodies sometimes target previously unknown or multiple mechanisms in infectious diseases.
Besides Influenza, Cellclone was also used to develop antibody therapies for the infamous Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome (more commonly known in the news as ‘MERS‘).
MEDI8852 is being developed by MedImmune, the biologics development arm of AstraZeneca. It is currently in phase Ib/IIa trials, after showing acceptable safety levels in a phase I trial.