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ExeVir Bio Announces New Publication from VIB Scientists Showing Potent and Broad Neutralizing Activity and Infection Protection Against SARS-COV, its Variants of Concern and Related Coronaviruses

ExeVir Bio Announces New Publication from VIB Scientists Showing Potent and Broad Neutralizing Activity and Infection Protection Against SARS-COV, its Variants of Concern and Related Coronaviruses


  • XVR011 antibody expected to be effective against SARS-Cov-2 and importantly its rapidly spreading variants and other Sarbecoviruses to emerge in future
  • Unique Llama-derived VHH72-Fc antibody (XVR011) for potential treatment and prevention of Covid-19, ready to start human trials


Belgium, 8 March 2021: ExeVir, which is developing single domain antibody therapies providing broad protection against viral infections, announces the preprint communication on BioRxiv of research by VIB scientists on the XVR011 antibody, demonstrating highly potent viral neutralizing activity, protection against infection by SARS-COV-2 and therapeutic efficacy in in vivo mouse and hamster models and minimized development of alveolar [lung] damage.  See link to paper:

As global vaccination progresses with SARS-CoV-2 likely staying endemic in the human population for the foreseeable future, antibody immunity escape variants are likely to become the causative agent for a large proportion of Covid-19 disease, and antibody therapeutics that work against those variants remain an urgent need.

Torsten Mummenbrauer, CEO of ExeVir Bio, said: “Covid-19 vaccines will unquestionably be a cornerstone of controlling the pandemic, yet a significant population segment will also need treatments. Immunity may be short-lived and vaccine efficacy may be lower in the elderly and immunosuppressed who are most at risk of developing severe Covid-19, as well as potentially in patients with Covid-19 infection caused by new variants. Limited vaccine availability in many countries, vaccine hesitancy and viral evolution to escape human immunity, of which we are now acutely aware as we are seeing rapidly spreading new variants, are other factors of uncertain impact. Hence, passive antibody immunotherapy with potent and broadly neutralizing molecules like our XVR011, to prevent or suppress viral replication in the lower airways, should find an important place in rescuing Covid-19 patients.”

Professor Xavier Saelens, Molecular Virology Group Leader, VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, said: “The study demonstrates that the mutations in the viral spike protein of the recently observed SARS-CoV-2 ‘Variants of Concern’ (VoCs) do not hamper neutralisation by XVR011. This includes the variants first observed in South Africa (B.1.351) and the UK (B.1.17), which are neutralized by XVR011 with equal potency as earlier SARS-CoV-2 pandemic strains. This contrasts with reported loss of activity due to these mutations for several of the neutralizing antibodies that have received an emergency use approval in the USA for non-hospitalized patients, and for several more that are still in clinical trials.”

As the world is gearing up to be better prepared against future outbreaks of other Sarbecoviruses, the family to which SARS and SARS-CoV-2 belong, the scientists have determined that XVR011’s VHH72 epitope is uniquely highly conserved across Sarbecoviruses and hence XVR011 binds to a broad variety of spike proteins of these viruses. XVR011 is therefore expected to be effective against most circulating SARS-CoV-2 and-1 viral variants as well as a broad range of other related coronaviruses (sarbecoviruses) known to be circulating in animal (bat) populations.

Professor Nico Callewaert, Scientific Director, VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, commented: “The cross-disciplinary work at the VIB, ExeVir, UCB and our many collaborators have enabled rapid progress and firmly established the ground for clinical development of XVR011 for potential treatment and prevention of Covid-19. With manufacturing and formulation support from UCB, a highly regarded leading pharmaceutical development organization, we are excited to be ready to start clinical testing of XVR011 imminently. XVR011 is the first European broadly neutralizing antibody based Covid-19 therapeutic approach with best-in-class potential to meet the current and future challenges posed by the spillover of coronaviruses into humans”.


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Last Updated: 10-Mar-2021