In an April 24, 2020 article in BioCentury, it was reported that SAB Biotherapeutics in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had already been working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to prepare itscow-based human polyclonal antibody platform for rapid responses to new infectious diseases when COVID-19 emerged. The company has since applied its DiversitAb platform to generate SAB-185, a cow-derived human polyclonal antibody therapy that the company says is more consistent and easier to scale up than convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. SAB Co-Founder and CEO Eddie Sullivan told BioCentury that the company expects initial lots of SAB-185, which targets the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, to be ready for clinical testing in early summer. The DoD had granted SAB a three-year contract, starting in September, 2019, for up to $27 million to develop and test a rapid-response antibody program to counter biological threats. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company had begun work on building out its antibody platform and scaling up its manufacturing process. SAB’s DiversitAb platform generates human polyclonal antibodies in cows that have been genetically engineered to contain the full set of human antibody genes [see “SAB: Human Polyclonal Antibodies on the Hoof” (https://www.biocentury.com/article/302044)]. “None of us, when we started the contract, expected that we would have a worldwide pandemic on our hands during the time that we’re trying to work with the Department of Defense and build the technology in order to be able to rapidly respond,” said Sullivan.
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