GC Pharma said Thursday that it plans to commercialize GC5131A, the world's first plasma therapy for COVID-19, in the second half of this year.
The plasma treatment is a hyperimmune globulin made by dividing up only immune proteins with various antibodies taken from the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients.
GC5131A differs from immune globulin, which consists of general immune antibodies, as the former contains more antibodies specific for COVID-19, the company said.
GC Pharma has already developed and commercialized hyperimmune globulins, such as Hepavic for hepatitis B immune globulin, and Hypertet for anti-tetanic immune globulin.
The plasma treatments can be developed rapidly because immune globulins have been used in human bodies for a long time, the company noted. The working mechanisms and manufacturing methods of GC5131A are identical to those of existing plasma products. These aspects also can make the development even more simplified, unlike a new drug development, it added.
Patients with infectious diseases have received plasma therapies collected from recovered people and showed improvements. This means the treatment efficacy of treatments made from the concentrated plasma of recovered people will be effective, GC Pharma said.
Global blood product makers, such as Takeda and Grifols, are also developing COVID-19 plasma products similar to GC Pharma's with support from their governments. They are also aiming to commercialize the drug within 2020.
"We will soon begin clinical trials to confirm the therapeutic efficacy of our plasma treatment," CEO Huh Eun-chul said. "The primary goal of the development is to provide treatment for severe patients and prevent infections among high-risk groups such as first-line medical workers."
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