March 12, 2020 / 12:51 PM / 20 days ago

Vir Biotech to collaborate with Biogen for developing coronavirus treatment

March 12 (Reuters) - Drug developer Vir Biotechnology Inc said on Thursday it had signed a letter of intent with Biogen Inc for the development of a potential coronavirus treatment, sending shares up 20%.

Once the agreement is finalized, Biogen would use Vir’s antibody platform to develop infection-fighting proteins known as monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Vir said it had identified a number of monoclonal antibodies that could target the coronavirus, and that it had begun its development efforts with Biogen.

The coronavirus has infected more than 126,000 people across the world, the vast majority in China, and killed over 4,600, according to a Reuters tally.

Drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc is testing its experimental therapy remdesivir in treating the virus and is expected to announce results from its ongoing clinical trials over the next month.

Shares of Vir Biotechnology were up at $40.48 in premarket trading.

Reporting By Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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