Celltrion, a South Korean pharmaceutical company, announced that it will embark on the commercial production of antiviral antibody treatment for COVID-19 in September. Production will begin regardless of the result of clinical trials, and if the second trials yield valid results, the company said it will immediately pursue commercialization.
“Our goal is to focus on clinical trials to minimize the time spent on commercialization,” Celltrion Chairman Seo Jeong-jin said during an online press meeting on Monday. The antibody treatment whose development is currently underway was approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Friday, and the treatment will be injected to 50 people for test this week. Once this month-long first clinical trial is over, the test will be followed by a second trial involving 200 to 300 subjects and a third covering 2,000 to 3,000 examinees, and the goal is to commercialize the treatment during the first half of next year after all three rounds of trials are completed.
Chairman Seo also added that he will seek for the emergency use authorization once the safeness and efficacy of the treatment are confirmed in the second trials, adding the production will begin at the company’s factory in Songdo starting in September for a swift supply of vital treatment.
“COVID-19 has already spread across the globe, it would be practically impossible to wipe it out completely even with a proven treatment,” said the chairman of Celltrion, vowing to provide the antibody treatment at a price lower than any other company’s by cutting down on development and production costs.
Seo added that his retirement plan has not changed as announced earlier this year. “I will lead the development of the COVID-19 cure until the end of this year, and from next year, a younger leader will take over,” he said.