Therapy Areas: Inflammatory Diseases
Humanigen Adds BARDA in Expansion of CRADA with the US government to Develop Lenzilumab for COVID-19
22 January 2021 - - US-based biopharmaceutical company Humanigen, Inc. (NASDAQ: HGEN) has gained an expansion to the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) that the company had previously entered into with the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND), to gain access to manufacturing capacity reserved by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services, the company said.

The agreement supports development of lenzilumab in advance of a potential Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19.

The amended CRADA, now co-signed by BARDA, provides Humanigen with access to manufacturing capacity reserved by BARDA for fill-finish product to accelerate the drug product manufacturing of lenzilumab.

The initial agreement, originally signed in November 2020, complements Humanigen's development efforts for lenzilumab by providing access to a full-scale, integrated team of manufacturing and regulatory subject matter experts and statistical support in anticipation of applying for EUA and subsequently a Biologics License Application for lenzilumab as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Lenzilumab is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Humanigen's investigational treatment lenzilumab, a proprietary Humaneered anti-human granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) monoclonal antibody, is designed to prevent and treat an immune hyper-response called cytokine storm, a complication considered to be a leading cause of COVID-19 death.

Data showed that up to 89 % of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are at risk of this immune hyper-response, which is believed to trigger the acute respiratory distress syndrome in severe cases of COVID-19.

Humanigen, Inc. is developing its portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical therapies for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases via its novel, cutting-edge GM-CSF neutralization and gene-knockout platforms.

The company believes that its GM-CSF neutralization and gene-editing platform technologies have the potential to reduce the inflammatory cascade associated with coronavirus infection.

Humanigen's immediate focus is to prevent or minimize the cytokine release syndrome that precedes severe lung dysfunction and ARDS in serious cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The company is also focused on creating next-generation combinatory gene-edited CAR-T therapies using strategies to improve efficacy while employing GM-CSF gene knockout technologies to control toxicity.

In addition, Humanigen is developing its own portfolio of proprietary first-in-class EphA3-CAR-T for various solid cancers and EMR1-CAR-T for various eosinophilic disorders.

Humanigen is also exploring the effectiveness of its GM-CSF neutralization technologies (either through the use of lenzilumab as a neutralizing antibody or through GM-CSF gene knockout) in combination with other CAR-T, bispecific or natural killer T cell engaging immunotherapy treatments to break the efficacy/toxicity linkage, including to prevent and/or treat graft-versus-host disease in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Additionally, Humanigen and Kite, a Gilead company, are evaluating lenzilumab in combination with Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) in patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma in a clinical collaboration.
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