Takeda Pharmaceuticals will soon initiate the development of TAK-888, an anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG) to treat high-risk individuals with COVID-19, announced the company.
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
Hyperimmune globulins are plasma derived-therapies that have previously been shown to be effective in the treatment of severe acute viral respiratory infections and may be a treatment option for COVID-19.
Takeda is currently in discussions with multiple national health and regulatory agencies and health care partners in the US, Asia, and Europe to expeditiously move the research into TAK-888 forward. This requires access to source plasma from people who have successfully recovered from COVID-19 or who have been vaccinated, once a vaccine is developed. These convalescent donors have developed antibodies to the virus that could potentially mitigate the severity of illness in COVID-19 patients and possibly prevent it.
H-IG works by concentrating the pathogen-specific antibodies from plasma collected from recovered patients or vaccinated donors in the future. By transferring the antibodies to a new patient, it may help that person’s immune system respond to the infection and increase their chance of recovery. Because the plasma needed for TAK-888 is unlikely to come from current plasma donors, Takeda will initially produce the therapy in a segregated area within its manufacturing facility in Georgia, and development and production of it should not negatively impact Takeda’s ability to produce its other plasma-derived therapies.
Plasma-derived therapies are critical, life-saving medicines that thousands of people with rare and complex diseases rely on every day around the world.
Additionally, Takeda is exploring whether select marketed therapies and molecules in its drug library could be viable candidates for the effective treatment of COVID-19. These efforts are at an early stage but being given a high priority within the company.
An internal working group of in-house experts in public health, vaccines, plasma-derived therapies, and R&D will continue to seek opportunities to leverage the company’s expertise and an extensive network of global partners to address COVID-19, says Takeda.
COVID-19 can cause pneumonia and has resulted in more than 3,000 deaths globally since its recent discovery.