South Korea approves Phase 2/3 trials of Celltrion’s COVID-19 antibody drug

FILE PHOTO: Flags bearing the South Korean national flag and Celltrion’s flag flutter in the wind at the company’s headquarters in Incheon

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Thursday it has approved Celltrion Inc’s experimental COVID-19 treatment for Phase 2/3 clinical trials, as the firm plans to seek an emergency use authorization for the antibody drug.

Celltrion said earlier this month that it would begin commercial production of the drug, CT-P59, this month – likely to amount to around 1 million doses, in anticipation of demand in Korea and overseas.

The treatment, the most advanced antibody drug in terms of research in South Korea, is directed against the surface of the virus and designed to block it from locking on to human cells.

The company said it was separately planning overseas human trials of the treatment in 12 countries including Britain, Spain and the United States, and anticipated primary results from these studies by the end of this year.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Writing by Miyoung Kim)