It is also expected that the experiment of GS016 in humans will start in the United States during the second quarter of this year through cooperation with Eli Lilly, which Junchi announced a partnership with last month.
Junchi is one of the few biotechnology companies and research institutes with little support from international drug giants to work on antibody-based treatments to help people with the rapidly spreading new HIV virus that has so far killed nearly 400,000 patients.
The company hopes that its work on antibodies, which are separated from the blood of recovered patients, can also protect healthy people with a high risk of infection, such as medical personnel and the elderly, from virus infection, said Feng Hui, chief of operations for Junxi.
But he added that the product may be much more expensive than any preventive vaccines that are currently being tested many of them, as it is expected that the drug antibody that Junchi develops contains more protein than expensive per dose than that involved in the formation of a vaccine.
“There are targeted consumers for both vaccines and antibodies, and one cannot replace the other,” Hui said in an interview with Reuters before announcing the latest development.
“Vaccines are cheap and appropriate for immunization campaigns nationwide, but older people and those with relatively weak immunity may not respond to vaccines such as healthy adults or children … antibodies can better protect them from the virus,” he added.
But Hoy warned that it was not yet clear whether they would be able to find participants to use the drug in the advanced and broader phase of human testing.