CSL to develop world-leading COVID-19 treatment

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) has announced it will immediately begin local development of an immunoglobulin product with the potential to treat serious cases of COVID-19.

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The share price of global biotherapeutics company CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) is up slightly by 0.4% today following a major announcement that it will immediately begin local development of an immunoglobulin product with the potential to treat serious cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is down by 0.8% at the time of writing.

World-leading treatment for seriously impacted patients

CSL noted in its media release today that it is developing a plasma product that has the potential to treat coronavirus patients with serious complications, particularly those whose illness has begun to progress to the stage where ventilation is likely to be required.

The product will be named 'COVID-19 Immunoglobulin' and will be developed at CSL's local advanced manufacturing facility located in Broadmeadows, Victoria, by its CSL Behring division.

In the first phase of research, a small product batch will be used to develop tests to detect the presence of antibodies that can combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus that in turns causes COVID-19. A much larger batch in the second phase will be used in wider clinical trials within Australian hospitals to test the safety of the treatment.

Donations from people that have recovered from COVID-19 will be used to develop this coronavirus-fighting product because they have high levels of antibodies in their blood. Australian Red Cross Lifeblood will collect the donations nationwide.

Up to 800 plasma donations are likely to be required to treat around 50 to 100 seriously ill coronavirus patients under the clinical trial.

CSL will look at registering the COVID-19 Immunoglobulin product with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to enable ongoing supply throughout Australia if the clinical trial proves to be successful.

The Commonwealth Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said, "Australia is playing an important role in the battle against COVID-19. CSL Behring's manufacturing facility will be one of the first in the world to commence development of a COVID-19 immunoglobulin that may provide benefit to seriously ill Australians in need of treatment."

Playing a critical role in the coronavirus fight on multiple fronts

CSL also has ongoing clinical trials being conducted at sites worldwide which are involved in evaluating promising new treatments for the coronavirus.

The company also previously announced a new partnership with rival Takeda Pharmaceutical and other leading plasma companies to fight the coronavirus. Biotest, BPL, LFB, and Octapharma all joined an alliance formed by CSL Behring and Takeda Pharmaceutical that will collaborate on the development of a potential plasma-derived therapy for treating COVID-19.

In addition, CSL is providing technical expertise and assistance to the University of Queensland in its endeavour to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Phil Harpur owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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