AbbVie, Harbour BioMed, Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center Announce Collaboration to Develop Monoclonal Antibody Therapy to Prevent and Treat COVID-19

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. & UTRECHT & ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands & SUZHOU, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Harbour BioMed (HBM), Utrecht University (UU) and Erasmus Medical Center (EMC) today announced they have entered into a collaboration to develop a novel antibody therapeutic to prevent and treat COVID-19, the pandemic respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The focus of the collaboration is on advancing the fully human, neutralizing antibody 47D11 discovered by UU, EMC and HBM and recently reported in Nature Communications. This antibody targets the conserved domain of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

Under the terms of the collaboration, AbbVie will support UU, EMC and HBM through the preclinical activities, while simultaneously undertaking preparations for later stage preclinical and clinical development work. AbbVie will receive an option to exclusively license the antibody from the three parties for therapeutic clinical development and commercialization worldwide.

“Treatment and prevention of COVID-19 remains a critical global need. The antibody discovered by UU, EMC and Harbour BioMed is extremely promising based on the mechanism by which it targets the virus and on its developability as a fully human protein,” said Tom Hudson, M.D., Senior Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, AbbVie. “We look forward to working with this outstanding team to advance this antibody towards clinical trials.”

“AbbVie is a global leader in developing innovative antiviral therapies,” said Dr. Jingsong Wang, Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of HBM. “This collaboration will greatly accelerate our efforts to bring this antibody forward into clinical trials as quickly as possible and contribute a solution to this pandemic.”

“The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has highlighted the importance of understanding coronavirus biology,” said Berend-Jan Bosch, PhD, Associate Professor, Research leader at UU. “The collaboration with AbbVie provides an excellent opportunity to translate our research into a clinical candidate with great potential for advancing the fight against this disease.”

Frank Grosveld, PhD, Academy Professor of Cell Biology, EMC, Rotterdam and Founding Chief Scientific Officer at Harbour BioMed, commented, “The collaboration is an endorsement of our approach to fully human antibody discovery and development. Through this collaboration, we are well positioned to move rapidly towards clinical trials.”

The antibody discovery, published online on May 4 in Nature Communications, targets a conserved region of the virus’ spike protein. In cell culture studies the antibody blocked infection by the SARS-CoV-2 and a second coronavirus SARS-CoV. The antibody is fully human, which is designed to facilitate its development and minimize immune-related side effects.

About AbbVie

AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women’s health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About Utrecht University

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is one of the largest research universities of Europe, with over thirty thousand students and a staff of more than six thousand. We invest in creating the leaders of the future through innovative education of the highest quality, as reflected by the University’s consistently high position in international rankings. Dedicated to performing groundbreaking research aimed at resolving large global issues, our culture of cooperation is a breeding ground for innovation, new insights and social impact.

About Erasmus Medical Center

Erasmus MC is the largest University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Our primary goal is a healthy population. Nearly 14,000 employees devote themselves every day to providing outstanding care, facilitating world-class education and conducting pioneering research. These professionals are instrumental in developing expertise on health and illness. They link the latest scientific insights to practical treatments and prevention measures to provide maximum benefit to patients and to enable healthy people to stay healthy longer. Being visibly better and leading the way in the areas of complex, innovative and acute care by collaborating with others: these are key ambitions at Erasmus MC.

About Harbour BioMed

Harbour BioMed is a global, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics in the fields of immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases. The company is building its proprietary pipeline through internal R&D programs, collaborations with co-discovery and co-development partners and select acquisitions. The company’s internal discovery programs are centered around its two patented transgenic mouse platforms (Harbour Mice®) for generating both fully human monoclonal antibodies and heavy chain only antibodies (HCAb) and HBICE™ immune cell engager technology for developing bispecific antibodies. Harbour BioMed also licenses the platforms to companies and academic institutions. The company has operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Suzhou & Shanghai, China. For more information, please visit


Media Contacts:

Adelle Infante

Phone: 847-938-8745


Harbour BioMed
Atul Deshpande PhD, MBA

Chief Strategy Officer and Head, US Ops.

Phone: +1-908-210-3347


Erasmus MC
David Drexhage

Press Officer

Phone: 31 10 703 55 25


Utrecht University
Myrna Tinbergen,

Press Officer

Phone: +31 6 48 43 47 84


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