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Celonic agrees cooperation to combat coronavirus


The Basel-based biopharmaceutical company Celonic Group has agreed a partnership with Airway Therapeutics from the USA. Together, the two companies are planning to develop a drug to treat coronavirus.


The core element of the collaboration between Airway Therapeutics and Celonic is based on the novel human recombinant protein AT-100. Airway Therapeutics has developed this protein on the basis of genetic engineering. Up to now, it has shown “great potential” in fighting inflammation and serious respiratory diseases driven by infection, as detailed by Marc Salzberg, CEO of Airway Therapeutics, in a press release issued by the two firms. However, the protein has so far not been manufactured in the volumes required for clinical trials. The Basel-based Celonic Group will now be responsible for this task.

“Given the urgency of the current pandemic, I am thrilled to establish this collaboration with Celonic, a leader in biologic manufacturing”, Salzberg states. Celonic will optimize manufacturing processes within the framework of this cooperation and assume responsibility for ensuring that production processes comply with the applicable guidelines for pharmaceuticals and active substances in the requisite volume for a clinical trial. Production is to begin as early as June 2020.

At Celonic, the prevailing sentiments are of excitement and pride in the cooperation with Airway and in taking part in the fight against this global pandemic, according to Konstantin Matentzoglu, CEO of Celonic, who was quoted in the press release. “AT-100 has the potential to be a lifesaving treatment for COVID-19 patients until a vaccine is available”, he comments. Seriously ill patients and those in intensive care stand to primarily benefit from this development.

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