Alachua company Ology Bioservices working on COVID-19 treatment and prevention

Press release from Ology Bioservices

The Department of Defense (DOD) awarded a contract valued at $14 million with Ology Bioservices Inc., a biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), to develop and manufacture a monoclonal antibody for treatment and prevention of infection with the COVID-19 virus.

This work is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs with funding from the Defense Health Agency.

Under this program, Ology Bioservices will work with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, Tennessee to develop and manufacture the monoclonal antibody. The aim of the program is to rapidly and efficiently deliver the antibody to the Department of Defense.

Peter H. Khoury, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ology Bioservices, noted, “We are tremendously honored to be working with the Department of Defense and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to rapidly respond to this crisis. The Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility operated by Ology Bioservices stands ready to meet the needs of the U.S. warfighter and the nation at large.”

“The global health crisis we’re seeing unfold right now with the coronavirus disease 2019 is exactly the kind of scenario the medical countermeasures Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility was built for,” said Douglas Bryce, Joint Program Executive Officer for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense. “It gives DOD and interagency partners like Health and Human Services, along with our partners in industry and academia, the ability to respond quickly and develop the treatments our warfighters need to fight COVID-19 so they can continue protecting the nation.”

Matthew Hepburn, M.D., Joint Project Lead CBRN Defense Enabling Biotechnologies, added, “This contract represents the realization of the prior investment in the DOD Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility, in order to respond to biological threats and pandemics. The Ology Bioservices team will now endeavor to make a product to keep DOD personnel safe.”

Under the proposed terms of a pending agreement with VUMC, researchers in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center (VVC) will be tasked in this program with rapid antibody discovery efforts as a performance site for the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) network of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

“Our team has been pushing 24/7 to isolate human monoclonal antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, and we are gratified to have the partnership of Ology Bioservices and the support of the U.S. DOD to prepare clinical grade antibody materials for rapid testing in clinical trials,” said James Crowe, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.

“This collaborative effort with the U.S. DOD Enabling Biotechnologies Office is a natural extension of our current effort to rapidly discover and deploy protective monoclonal antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 through the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Program (P3),” added VVC Associate Director Robert H. Carnahan, Ph.D. “Partnering with Ology Bioservices will allow these antibodies to quickly move towards human clinical trials in the coming months.”