Saturday, August 29, 2020
iBio, Inc. a biotechnology innovator and biologics contract manufacturing organization, announced that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Planet Biotechnology Inc. (“Planet”) for the development of Planet’s COVID-19 therapeutic candidate, ACE2-Fc.
ACE2-Fc is a recombinant protein comprised of human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) fused to a human immunoglobulin G Fc fragment (Fc). As an immunoadhesin, ACE2-Fc targets the coronavirus virions directly by using the ACE2 extracellular domain as a decoy to bind the spike protein and block infection of healthy cells, while the fused Fc domain prolongs the life of the protein in circulation. The design is expected to bring the benefit of a traditional neutralizing antibody while prospectively limiting the potential for “viral escape” given that ACE2 is also the target receptor for coronavirus for cell entry. Planet’s in vitro studies demonstrated that its ACE2-Fc blocks SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting Vero E6 cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, iBio obtained an exclusive license to Planet’s ACE2-Fc. Planet is eligible to receive certain pre-specified payments upon achievement of clinical development milestones.
“We see tremendous opportunity in our partnership with Planet to develop this novel immunoadhesin molecule as a potential COVID-19 disease treatment,” said Tom Isett, Chairman & CEO of iBio. “We believe the molecule may be effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that it has the potential to be rapidly re-designed in the FastPharming® System to address mutations in the current virus, if any, as well as future coronaviral diseases.”
Elliot Fineman, Planet’s President and CEO, commented, “iBio is an ideal partner for Planet, offering experience in manufacturing plant-based biopharmaceuticals and rapid scale-up capabilities. We are eager to support iBio in the pre-clinical development of ACE2-Fc.”