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Vir Biotech CEO Says His Covid-19 Medicine Offers Promise for Next Outbreak
(Bloomberg) -- Vir Biotechnology Inc.’s stock has lost some of its luster after quadrupling earlier this year as competition heats up for Covid-19 antibody therapies. Yet its chief executive officer is looking ahead to the next viral scourge.With two well-heeled competitors ahead of it, Vir has pared a February surge to a still impressive 122% leap this year. Eli Lilly & Co.’s antibody treatment received an emergency use authorization on Nov. 9 and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s therapy got its nod over the weekend. Vir’s medicine is unique because it targets a variety of coronaviruses, CEO George Scangos said.It “has the potential not only to be effective against Covid-19, but it has a reasonable chance of also being effective against the next coronavirus outbreak,” Scangos said in an interview. An interim look at late-stage data for VIR-7831 is expected in January.Regeneron has touted its two-antibody cocktail as being better than single-antibody treatments like those from Lilly or Vir. Yet Scangos, a former Biogen Inc. chieftain, said that while Lilly and Regeneron’s medicines block the ability of the virus to infect cells, the virus could evade these antibodies by mutating.‘Babe Ruth’“Would you rather have two random baseball players or Babe Ruth?,” he said. “It’s not just the number but the quality and the characteristics of the antibody.”Vir’s antibody was developed not from a Covid-19 patient but from one who’d recovered from severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which is also caused by a coronavirus. The company chose an antibody that also works against Covid-19 and Scangos postulates that it responds to something in the SARS and Covid viruses that hasn’t changed over years of viral evolution.He also sees potential advantage for Vir’s antibody in its engagement of part of the immune system where Lilly and Regeneron’s molecules have had less potent activity.Baird’s Madhu Kumar, the only analyst with a sell-equivalent rating on Vir, is skeptical. He said this particular component of Lilly and Regeneron’s antibodies may be what led to some safety signals and “could trigger inflammatory cascades that could be detrimental to patients.” This particularly concerns hospitalized patients, which Vir is still studying, Kumar told Bloomberg.Email requests for comment to Lilly and Regeneron weren’t returned.Much of Kumar’s skepticism is tied to Vir’s valuation. Even after the stock pulled way back from a Feb. 27 record, it’s still has more than doubled this year. He’s also wary of the market for antibodies in general because successful vaccine results from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE as well as Moderna Inc. have blunted its longer term “tail value.”Outside of Covid-19, Kumar has a positive view on Vir. “There’s a real company behind this,” he said, calling out Vir’s hepatitis B RNAi platform.Others on Wall Street take a more optimistic view with five analysts deeming it a buy, and one with a hold rating. The average analyst price target of $55 suggests the Street expects shares may almost double over the next 12 months.GlaxoSmithKline Plc is also a believer and has invested $250 million in San Francisco-based Vir. The duo are in a deal to pursue not only Covid-19 but future coronaviruses using CRISPR screening technology and artificial intelligence to find new compounds.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg · 5d ago
Analysts Have Just Cut Their Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIR) Revenue Estimates By 20%
The analysts covering Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIR) delivered a dose of negativity to shareholders today, by...
Simply Wall St. · 11/16 13:55
Earnings Update: Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIR) Just Reported And Analysts Are Trimming Their Forecasts
As you might know, Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIR) last week released its latest third-quarter, and things did...
Simply Wall St. · 11/13 14:08
Vir Biotechnology Publishes New Research Characterizing Variation in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Virulence of a Prevalent Immune Evasion Variant, N439K
– Manuscript highlights the importance of molecular surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 immune evasion and rational design of vaccines and antibody therapies for COVID-19 –SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) today announced the publication of new research demonstrating that the immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding motif (RBM) is the least conserved region in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, allowing for the occurrence of mutations without disrupting human ACE2 (hACE2) binding, which mediates viral entry. Researchers also characterize the virulence and fitness of N439K, a prevalent variant in the RBM that demonstrated resistance to human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), including one that is currently being evaluated in clinical trials. The manuscript, which was developed by Vir in collaboration with the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, was published online November 5, 2020 on bioRxiv, and has been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for future print publication.   “This study shows that the receptor binding motif of SARS-CoV-2, a major target of neutralizing antibodies, is evolving at a higher rate than the rest of the receptor binding domain and spike, and is resilient to change,” said Herbert “Skip” Virgin, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Vir. “It is reminiscent of our experience with influenza A, where the mutability of the region targeted by the most potent neutralizing antibodies results in ineffective immunity year-over-year. Our demonstration of a virulent SARS-CoV-2 immune evasion mutant provides a cautionary tale for how we address this pandemic, and indicates the importance of ongoing surveillance for immune evasion mutations in the development of antibodies and vaccines.”Data analyzed from approximately 130,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences, alongside evaluation of a published deep mutational scanning of the receptor binding domain (RBD), demonstrated that the RBM has a high degree of structural plasticity that permits significant changes in the amino acid sequence of the RBM, including N439K, while maintaining hACE2 binding.Researchers also sought to define the clinical and epidemiologic impact, molecular features and immune response to the RBM variant, N439K. The goal was to determine if variants emerging in the pandemic have immune evasion potential. This variant, which was first identified in Scotland in March 2020, has since re-emerged independently in a second lineage and has been observed in 14 countries, including the United States. At the time of manuscript submission, it was the second most common circulating RBD variant.Based on a review of sequenced viral isolates from 1,918 Scottish patients and clinical outcomes for 1,591 of these patients, N439K demonstrated similar clinical virulence to the wild-type 439N strain, full replication in the upper respiratory tract, the capacity to replicate in cultured cells, and the ability to effectively compete in in vitro growth assays with the wild-type virus. These data demonstrate that the virus exhibits fitness despite a mutation in the RBM.To understand whether and how the N439K mutation might evade immunity, researchers noted that the binding of polyclonal sera to SARS-CoV-2 spike was reduced by the mutation in a sizeable fraction of the 445 samples obtained from recovered individuals. Additionally, out of 144 human neutralizing mAbs isolated from individuals who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection early in the pandemic, a significant number failed to efficiently recognize N439K. When tested across four clinical-stage antibodies – S309 (the precursor of VIR-7831), LY-CoV555, REGN10933 and REGN10987 – S309, which targets a non-RBM epitope, LY-CoV555 and REGN10933 were capable of neutralizing the N439K variant.“These data provide critical evidence that more immune-evasive SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to emerge, necessitating the updating of vaccines and the development of monoclonal antibodies that are highly resistant to viral escape,” said George Scangos, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Vir. “This is what we had in mind when we designed VIR-7831. By targeting a highly conserved epitope with the potential for a high barrier to resistance, we hoped to evade ongoing mutations and increase the long-term immunity of people exposed to SARS-CoV-2. We look forward to continuing to evaluate the utility of VIR-7831 in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”This study was conducted in collaboration with Professors Emma Thomson, M.D, Ph.D., and David Robertson, Ph.D., and their teams at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.As part of Vir’s ongoing commitment to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Vir scientists continue to publish new research designed to enhance the scientific understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The Company’s most recent publications highlight: * The mechanisms and risk for antibody-mediated enhancement of disease (Nature, October 2020); * The identification and characterization of ultra-potent anti-COVID neutralizing mAbs (Science September 2020); * The nature and half-life of human anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in recovered individuals (Cell, September 2020). This research also showed that the part of the SARS-CoV-2 spike that contains the N439K mutation is a dominant target of the antibody response in many individuals; * A mAb, S309 (the parent of VIR-7831 and VIR-7832), that covers both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, which may be useful for the current and future pandemics (Nature, May 2020); and * How to engineer mAbs with significantly increased efficacy in the treatment and prophylaxis of respiratory viral infections (Nature, April 2020). About VIR-7831 VIR-7831 is a monoclonal antibody that has shown the ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 live virus in vitro and in vivo. The antibody binds to an epitope on SARS-CoV-2 that is shared with SARS-CoV-1 (also known as SARS), indicating that the epitope is highly conserved, which may make it more difficult for resistance to develop. VIR-7831 has been engineered with the potential to enhance lung bioavailability and have an extended half-life.About Vir Biotechnology Vir Biotechnology is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on combining immunologic insights with cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases. Vir has assembled four technology platforms that are designed to stimulate and enhance the immune system by exploiting critical observations of natural immune processes. Its current development pipeline consists of product candidates targeting hepatitis B virus, influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis. For more information, please visit Vir Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “potential,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “goal,” “intend,” “candidate,” “continuing,” “developing” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Vir’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Each of these forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include statements regarding print publication of Vir’s research in a peer-reviewed journal, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the ability of VIR-7831 to evade mutations and increase long-term immunity and the utility of VIR-7831 in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Many factors may cause differences between current expectations and actual results including unexpected safety or efficacy data observed during preclinical or clinical studies, challenges in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2, difficulty in collaborating with other companies or government agencies, and challenges in accessing manufacturing capacity. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements in this press release are discussed in Vir’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the section titled “Risk Factors” contained therein. Except as required by law, Vir assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in expectations, even as new information becomes available.  CONTACT: Contact: Investors Neera Ravindran, M.D. VP, Head of Investor Relations & Strategic Communications +1-415-506-5256 Media Cara Miller VP, Corporate Communications +1-415-941-6746
GlobeNewswire · 11/06 13:00
Vir Biotechnology to Provide Corporate Update and Report Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results on November 10, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR), a clinical-stage immunology company focused on treating and preventing serious infectious diseases, today announced that it will provide a corporate update and report financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020 on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. The update will be provided via a press release after market close, and will be accessible under Press Releases in the Investors section of the Vir website at Vir BiotechnologyVir Biotechnology is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on combining immunologic insights with cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases. Vir has assembled four technology platforms that are designed to stimulate and enhance the immune system by exploiting critical observations of natural immune processes. Its current development pipeline consists of product candidates targeting hepatitis B virus, influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis.   CONTACT: Contact: Investors Neera Ravindran, M.D. VP, Head of Investor Relations & Strategic Communications +1-415-506-5256 Media Cara Miller VP, Corporate Communications +1-415-941-6746
GlobeNewswire · 10/27 20:01
Vir Biotechnology (VIR) Presents At H.C. Wainwright 22nd Annual Global Investment Conference - Slideshow
The following slide deck was published by Vir Biotechnology, Inc. in conjunction with this event.
Seekingalpha · 10/23 15:01
Vir Biotech up 3% on encouraging data on influenza A candidate
Vir Biotechnology (VIR) perks up 3% premarket on light volume on the heels of encouraging data early-stage data on VIR-2482, an intramuscularly administered influenza A-neutralizing monoclonal antibody in development for the prevention
Seekingalpha · 10/21 12:52
Vir Biotechnology Highlights Presentation Of Data On VIR-2482 Investigational Monoclonal Antibody For Influenza A Prevention At IDWeek 2020 OCt. 21-25
– Preclinical data show VIR-2482 has broad neutralizing potential against all major strains of influenza A from the last 100 years – – Extended half-life observed in
Benzinga · 10/21 12:06
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Analyst Price Target
The average VIR stock price target is 54.86 with a high estimate of 100.00 and a low estimate of 24.00.
Institutional Holdings
Institutions: 156
Institutional Holdings: 69.45M
% Owned: 54.52%
Shares Outstanding: 127.39M
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Chairman/Independent Director
Vicki Sato
Chairman/Independent Director
vicki Sato
President/Chief Executive Officer/Director
George Scangos
Jay Parrish
Chief Financial Officer/Secretary
Howard Horn
Executive Vice President/Chief Scientific Officer
Virgin Virgin
Executive Vice President/Chief Scientific Officer
Herbert Virgin
Chief Technology Officer
Michael Kamarck
Phil Pang
Janet Napolitano
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Robert More
Independent Director
Robert Nelsen
Independent Director
Dipchand Nishar
Independent Director
Robert Perez
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Saira Ramasastry
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Phillip Sharp
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Elliott Sigal
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About VIR
Vir Biotechnology, Inc. is a clinical-stage immunology company. The Company is focused on developing treatments to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases. Its technology platforms are focused on antibodies, T cells, innate immunity and small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA). Its pipeline consists of product candidates targeting hepatitis B virus (HBV), influenza A, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB). Its product candidates include VIR-2218, VIR-3434, VIR-2482, VIR-1111 and VIR-2020. The Company is developing VIR-2218 and VIR-3434 for the functional cure of HBV. VIR-2218 is a subcutaneously administered HBV-targeting siRNA. VIR-3434 is a subcutaneously administered HBV-neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb). VIR-2482 is an intramuscularly administered influenza A-neutralizing mAb. VIR-1111 is a subcutaneously administered HIV T cell vaccine. VIR-2020 is a subcutaneously administered TB T cell vaccine.
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