Clinical trial begins for a NCFL medical manufacturing company’s antibody treatment

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 6:34 PM EST
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ALACHUA, Fla. (WCJB) - Ology Bioservices, a medical manufacturing company in Alachua has entered phase one of their clinical trial for an anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody cocktail, which is basically a temporary treatment helping prevent the virus.

“So it may last 6-9 months, where a DNA medicine or a vaccine could last years, some even last lifetimes,” Ology Chief Executive Officer Brandon Brega said.

In November, Ology Bioservices was awarded $37 Million by the Department of Defense to develop this treatment.

“When we were told that we had to do this relatively quickly, a lot of us thought it was impossible,” Ology Process Development Executive Director Eric Vela said.

The process to develop a vaccine or a treatment, like the ones being developed by Ology, normally take several years.

“You have the development of your drug, then you have the manufacturing of your drug, then you have your clinical trial, then you have FDA approval. That can take up to ten years. What’s amazing about this process is that we’ve done it in less than a year,” Vela said.

Brega and Vela said this antibody treatment is temporary, lasting six to nine months compared to a vaccine that could last years.

Over the weekend, 40 volunteers between the ages of 18-55 were injected with the antibody treatment as part of the clinical trial.

“First of all you have different groups. You have groups of people that are actually getting the antibody, then you have groups of people that are getting the placebo. The placebo is basically just water or sugar water mixture,” Vela said.

This treatment will need the approval of the FDA before it is administered to the public for the prevention of the virus.

“It makes me feel proud, it makes me feel excited for the team and all the different staff that are working here that have taken part in it. It also makes me feel that I’ve been a part of something that is for the greater good. Since this disease, this virus has affected so many people,” Vela said.

Ology is constructing a new process development facility that will be around 40,000 square feet. The new lab is expected to bring at least 130 jobs to Alachua.

A second expansion will also be constructed aiming to double their bulk manufacturing capability. That facility will be around 55,000 square feet.

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