The Zika monoclonal antibody will be tested on humans.
After only nine months of development, the first-in-class monoclonal antibody for the treatment of Zika will enter clinical trials, in Phase 1a. Tychan, a clinical-stage biotechnology company based in Singapore created the drug, and was aided by their joint collaboration with WuXi Biologics.
The monoclonal antibody works by targeting the surface-exposed envelope (E) protein of the virus. By targeting this protein, the drug stops it from fusing with host cells, thus preventing viral replication.
Following permission from Singapore's Health Sciences Authority, the first patient is scheduled to receive the first dose within the week. Twenty-four healthy volunteers will take part in the trial, which will require more phases of testing prior to being ready for regular patient use.
Tychan’s Chairman Teo Ming Kian, commented on the abbreviated timeline and bringing Tyzivumab into trials within only 9 months. “The current paradigm of taking years to bring a drug from discovery to the clinic does not allow us to effectively deal with outbreaks of emerging diseases,” he commented.
Kian continued, adding that epidemics don’t wait for typical drug development timelines. “The SARS episode is a painful reminder. To make a difference to outbreak interventions, research discovery must be translated into medicines within such timelines. The development of Tyzivumab is a first step in this direction,” he emphasized.