Successful Development of Broad Spectrum Human Monoclonal Antibodies Against Major Influenza Viruses (H1N1 and H5N1)

Thursday, March 11, 2010 General News
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INCHEON, South Korea, March 9 Celltrion, Inc., a South Korean biopharmaceutical company, has developed novel human monoclonal antibodies against influenza virus infection, which neutralize a broad spectrum of influenza viruses, including pandemic H1N1 and the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus. Preliminary tests in laboratory animals indicate that the novel human monoclonal antibodies can be used to prevent disease when given either before or after infection.

The discovery is the result of an international collaboration among the U.S. CDC Influenza Division, the Severance Hospital and Seoul National University Hospital in Korea, SC World, Inc. in Japan, and Celltrion. Celltrion's monoclonal antibodies were evaluated by in vitro microneutralization assays and in vivo animal studies using seasonal or pandemic H1, pandemic H2, and endemic H5 virus subtypes. In preclinical testing, Celltrion monoclonals were more efficacious than similar antibody candidates reported previously.

One of the antibodies, CT120, blocked infection by all the viruses mentioned above in microneutralization test and showed prophylactic and therapeutic effect on H5N1 and prophylactic effect on pandemic and seasonal H1 viruses in mice. Celltrion plans to develop human monoclonal antibodies as a universal biopharmaceutical to treat influenza infections and its complications in humans. This monoclonal antibody is also a potential candidate for treating H5 avian influenza virus infection or other potentially pandemic or zoonotic influenza viruses.

Mr. Jung-Jin Seo, Chairman and CEO of Celltrion, stated that, "We are very excited with these results, and we will do our best to move forward as quickly as possible into clinical trials with a view to bringing this new product to the clinic in record time. We are very pleased to collaborate with the U.S. CDC, Severance Hospital and SC World, Inc. on this important public health initiative."

This type of innovative new biological product with broad efficacy against multiple potentially pandemic influenza viruses from animals could transform pandemic preparedness and influenza control strategies. Globally, approximately one billion people are infected by influenza viruses annually, with eight million people being hospitalized every year. In addition, the new antibody screening platform technology used to develop these therapeutic antibodies, can be applied to new therapeutics for other infectious disease.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of Celltrion as of the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are no guarantees for future performance, and the forward-looking events discussed in this press release may not occur. Celltrion disclaims any intent or obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.

About Celltrion

Celltrion, Inc. is a leading biopharmaceutical company in South Korea that focuses on the development, manufacture and distribution of biologics, specifically monoclonal antibodies, for the treatment of human diseases. Based on its world-class technology in monoclonal antibody manufacturing, Celltrion has entered into many strategic collaborations with global pharmaceutical companies. In addition, Celltrion is in a strong position to capitalize on the newly emerging global monoclonal antibody biosimilar market due to its advanced development technology and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Celltrion is currently developing numerous biosimilars of blockbuster biologics.

For further information please contact: SeungSuh "Stanley" Hong, Ph.D. Senior Vice President Head of Research & Development Advisor to Business Development Celltrion, Inc. One Lagoon Dr., Redwood City, CA 94065, USA +1-650-593-3203(office)

SOURCE Celltrion, Inc.

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