KEY POINTS

  • Distributed Bio reveals it has "some very potent antibodies that can be effective against" COVID-19
  • It plans to produce large batches of the antibody for immunizations
  • Phase one and phase two human trials scheduled for the end of the summer

The race to develop and quickly market the first vaccine proven effective against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is an international contest where more than 20 vaccine candidates are being tested by labs around the world.

One those involved in this race against the clock is Distributed Bio, a startup based in San Francisco, California. Distributed Bio describes itself as a company of "computational immuno-engineers" led by PhDs and MScs.

Its mission is to "create breakthrough technologies to drug previously challenging targets." It uses its proprietary Centivax vaccine technology to produce broad-spectrum vaccines against rapidly mutating pathogens like influenza and HIV.

Distributed Bio broke into America's consciousness when its founder, president and CEO Dr. Jacob Glanville PhD appeared as one of the experts featured in the Netflix show, "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak." As Dr. Glanville said in the show, "We're making a vaccine that can treat all future versions of flu."

Dr. Glanville said Distributed Bio has been working around the clock to develop a drug to treat COVID-19. On Monday, Dr. Glanville announced the company has discovered the possible COVID-19 cure it's looking for.

"We are happy to announce we have completed the engineering and we have some very potent antibodies that can be effective against the virus," said Dr. Glanville to TV station CBS News 8.

He said company scientists took a series of five antibodies able to neutralize SARS, which have been in storage since 2002. He said they "were able to use technology in our laboratories to evolve those antibodies against SARS to adapt them to recognize COVID-19."

"We tried with five different antibodies because we weren’t sure which one would work the best," said Dr. Glanville. "All five worked so we have a pretty powerful tool chest available to us right now to produce a final therapeutic."

The company will develop the antibodies into an injectable vaccine, said Dr. Glanville. He said the company's been deliberately trying to engineer extremely potent antibodies "because if they’re potent you need less material and then you could give it as an injection."

Mechanical ventilators needed to treat those suffering from respiratory distress due to COVID-19 are in short supply Mechanical ventilators needed to treat those suffering from respiratory distress due to COVID-19 are in short supply Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / STEPHANIE KEITH

Distributed Bio will send the antibodies to the U.S. Army for confirmation testing and to Charles River Laboratories for safety and tox characterization. Dr. Glanville said Distributed Bio has partnered with two different companies that will help it produce large batches of the antibody for immunizations. He also said the company is in discussions to start phase one and phase two human trials scheduled for the end of the summer.

He revealed that if "we see the drug is safe and helpful means we could start releasing it for compassionate use in September."

"We want to make sure when we’re ready to release this we’re ready to release it to the entire world," according to Dr. Glanville.