Sanquin participates in an international plasma alliance to develop a COVID-19 drug

Sanquin has joined the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance to develop a non-branded hyperimmune immunoglobulin therapy for patients at risk of serious complications by COVID-19. By cooperating in this alliance, Sanquin hopes to make an important contribution to the possible development of this plasma product. 

Early april, the international pharmaceutical companies Takeda, CSL Behring , Biotest, BPL, LFB and Octapharma have initiated the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance. Currently, this alliance has expanded to ten global and local plasma processing parties. Organizations outside the plasma industry are also providing their support and cooperation. 

The goal of this collaboration is to accelerate the development of a potential immunoglobulin therapy, to increase chances of success and increase the supply and availability of potential drug if it is approved. Through information sharing and utilizing the collective expertise and existing infrastructure, the belief is that much more can be done much faster. Precisely at that moment when the pressure of the pandemic requires swift action.

The development of a plasma-based drug that contains consistently high levels of antibodies to the new coronavirus is called a hyperimmune globulin (H-IG) and requires the collection of plasma from individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19, and whose blood contains high titers of antibodies that can fight the virus. Once donated, this “convalescent plasma” would be transported to manufacturing facilities where it will be pooled together and undergo effective virus inactivation and removal processes, prior to being purified into the H-IG. This H-Ig is just one of many possible options to respond to the pandemic, but it may be one of the first possible treatment options for people at risk of serious complications from COVID-19. 

Pieter de Geus, CEO of Sanquin Plasma Products: “Sanquin acknowledges the added value of this collaboration. The combined strength saves time in the process, something that can only be of benefit to patients. The advantage is that Sanquin Plasma Products has the necessary expertise with regard to plasma products, and can contribute with its own knowledge to, for example, drawing up the clinical protocol or testing. In addition, Sanquin Blood Bank is already actively collecting convalescent plasma. We had previously started this collection, separate from the activities of the Alliance, so that Erasmus MC and LUMC may conduct research on the effects of a convalescent plasma transfusion and if that may relieve the symptoms patients are experiencing. Because of this, Sanquin can promptly contribute to the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance.”

To be able to make this relatively scarce source material available to the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, Sanquin needs to organize large scale convalescent plasma collections. In consultation with the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Sanquin can provide this by temporarily expanding purchase centers and recruiting more staff. In this way, Sanquin contributes to the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. 
For press releases on this subject and the contact details of the spokesmen of the Alliance:

Contact Sanquin: call our spokesperson on 0031 20 512 7077.