GC Lab Cell is making headway in the development of its natural killer (NK) cell-based cure to fight COVID-19.
The South Korean cell therapy developer said on Monday it has agreed to team up with U.S. biothec firm KLEO Pharmaceuticals for the development which will be based on GC Lab Cell’s NK cell therapy and KLEO’s antibody-recruiting molecules (ARMs).
Shares of Kosdaq-listed GC Lab Cell jumped on the news Monday afternoon, gaining 29.94 percent to end the day at 35,150 won ($28.69).
KLEO’s ARMs are designed to bind to viral antigens and immunoglobulin, an antibody produced by the human body in response to the presence of a foreign substance, according to GC Lab Cell.
Antibodies, which are usually used as antiviral agents, must properly bind to the viral antigen surface to prevent re-infection and stimulate other immune cells to go active in the body. ARMs play a ladder role to connect antigens and antibodies and can serve as neutralizing antibodies to block viruses.
The development project will be conducted in two directions.
First, an NK cell therapy, which directly attacks infected cells and activates other immune cells to induce a long-term immune response, will be developed as a cure for COVID-19, and the NK cell therapy will be combined with ARMs to boost the potential of the cure.
Early research will be joined by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. and a research team from College of Medicine, Chungbuk National University.
GC Lab Cell said it launch a clinical trial in the second half of this year.
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