Belgian ExeVir Bio has reported data demonstrating that its Covid-19 antibodies are potent in neutralising currently circulating Covid-19 Omicron variants.

ExeVir is planning to start clinical trials for XVR012, along with the individual components XVR013m and XVR014, as per a 15 January press release.

XVR012 demonstrated a neutralisation potency of of IC50 range, a measure of a drug’s efficacy. The neutralisation was observed in the pseudovirus neutralization assay against all SARS-CoV-2 variants evaluated so far, including the currently highly prevalent E.G.5.1, HV.1 and BA.2.86.1. ExeVir is also testing the therapy’s efficacy against new circulating variants.

ExeVir’s XVR012 is a cocktail therapy made up of two Covid-19 antibody therapies, XVR013m and XVR014. The therapy was designed to combine multiple modes of action by targeting three epitopes across the broad sarbecovirus subgenus of Coronaviridae, thereby, reducing the risk of viral escape and reinfection.

XVR013m is a heavy chain-only antibody that targets a membrane-proximal epitope in the S2 subunit of the spike protein. The spike proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 allow the virus to penetrate host cells and cause infection. XVR014 is a bispecific heavy chain-only antibody that targets two epitopes in the receptor-binding domain of the S1 subunit of the spike protein.

There has been a renewed interest in developing Covid-19 treatment in light of new Omicron subvariants. Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European agencies have highlighted the need to develop new therapies that target the emerging strains, specifically XBB Omicron subvariant family.

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In August 2023, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a $1.4bn grant to facilitate the development of new vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19 as part of Project NextGen. The grant was disbursed to different companies, including ModeX.

Apart from Covid-19 therapies, ExeVir is also developing prophylactic and therapeutic solutions for dengue. The company’s dengue therapy, XVR021, is currently in discovery phase. In June 2023, ExeVir received a two-year €1.6m (1.7m) grant from the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) for pre-clinical research for XVR021.