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Junshi Biosciences and Lilly to Co-develop Antibody Therapies for the Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19

SHANGHAI and INDIANAPOLIS, May 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Junshi Biosciences (HKEX: 1877) and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced today they have entered into an agreement to co-develop therapeutic antibodies for the potential prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Junshi Biosciences—a China-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies—launched one of the industry’s first R&D efforts aimed at discovering therapies to combat COVID-19. Multiple neutralizing antibodies have been engineered, with the lead asset poised to enter clinical testing in the second quarter.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been working diligently to join the fight against the pandemic. Entering into this agreement with Lilly empowers us to accelerate the clinical development of Junshi SARS-CoV-2 antibodies globally,” said Ning Li, M.D., Ph.D., Junshi Biosciences’ chief executive officer. “At the same time, by leveraging Lilly’s global presence and capabilities, we have the potential to reach broader COVID-19 patient populations in a wider range of countries and regions.”

“As the number of global cases continues to grow, there is an urgent need to study multiple complementary approaches to address this disease,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “The data generated by Junshi Biosciences suggest the lead antibody may have appropriate properties to support testing its therapeutic use in patients as well as exploring its potential for preventing infection in at-risk individuals. We look forward to partnering with Junshi Biosciences to quickly begin testing this potential new therapy in clinical trials.”

Lilly will receive an exclusive license to conduct clinical development, manufacturing and distribution of products outside of Greater China. Junshi Biosciences will maintain all rights in Greater China.

About Junshi SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies
JS016 is a recombinant fully human monoclonal neutralizing antibody that is specific to the SARS-CoV-2 surface spike protein receptor binding domain and can effectively block the binding of viruses to host cell surface receptor ACE2. The project is jointly developed by Junshi Biosciences and Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Junshi Biosciences rapidly launched the research and development program of neutralizing antibodies to combat COVID-19. Within two months, the company has completed IND enabling pre-clinical studies, the process development and production for GLP toxicity study and GMP production of clinical material by leveraging the company’s platform technology. Junshi Biosciences and Lilly aim to submit an IND application and initiate clinical studies in the United States in the second quarter of the year. Meanwhile, the company is communicating actively with the Center for Drug Evaluation of the National Medical Products Administration to initiate the IND application submission in China as soon as possible.

About Junshi Biosciences
Established in 2012, Junshi Biosciences is committed to developing first-in-class and best-in-class drugs through original innovation and becoming a pioneer in the area of translational medicine to provide patients with effective and affordable treatment options. On December 24, 2018, Junshi Biosciences was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong with the stock code: 1877.HK. The Company has established a diversified R&D pipeline comprising 21 drug candidates with therapeutic areas covering cancer, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases, neurologic diseases, and infectious disease. Product types include monoclonal antibodies, fusion proteins, antibody-drug conjugates, and small molecule drugs. With a combined 33,000L fermentation capacity in two GMP-facilities at Shanghai and Suzhou, Junshi has established the manufacturing infrastructure to support commercialization and provide our partners and patients with high-quality products through a global supply chain network. For more information, please visit: http://junshipharma.com/en/Index.html

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global health care leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at lilly.com and lilly.com/newsroom. C-LLY

Contacts:

Zhi Li; zhi_li@junshipharma.com; (8621) 61058800 (Junshi Media)

Inger Chen; inger_chen@junshipharma.com; (8621) 61058800 (Junshi Investors)

Michael Levitan; mlevitan@soleburytrout.com; (646) 378-2920 (Junshi Investors; Solebury Trout)

Nicole Hebert; Nicole_Hebert@lilly.com; (317) 701-9984 (Lilly Media)

Kevin Hern; hern_kevin_r@lilly.com; (317) 277-1838 (Lilly Investors)

Water supply to Bandar Bukit Puchong to be restored by midnight

KUALA LUMPUR Water supply disruption to several areas in Bandar Bukit Puchong in Sepang and Petaling districts following a burst pipe at the entrance of Apartment Baiduri Court in Bandar Bukit Puchong 2 is expected to be completely restored by midnight tonight.

Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) Corporate Communications head Elina Baseri however said water supply to Apartment Baiduri Court is still affected as works on pipe connection to the apartment is still going on and would only be completed by 6 am tomorrow.

“As at  6 pm today, water supply to consumers in Bandar Bukit Puchong 1 to 9 in Petaling district and Bandar Bukit Puchong 10 to 17 in Sepang district has resumed in stages,” she said in a statement today.

She said Air Selangor is also supplying water via lorry tankers to the apartment.

According to Air Selangor, consumers can obtain the latest status via its Twitter, Facebook and, Instagram sites as well as its website, www.airselangor.com.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

King holds teleconference with Ismail Sabri

KUALA LUMPUR Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today granted an audience to Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob via teleconferencing.

The Prime Minister’s Department, in a statement, said His Majesty was briefed on the role and efforts of the government in implementing the Movement Control Order (MCO).

The statement said that during the 20-minute session, Al-Sultan Abdullah was also told of the measures and action taken by the Defence Ministry and the Malaysian Armed Forces to tighten control at the country’s borders and to tackle the issue of illegal entry by foreigners.

“His Majesty also expressed his appreciation and thanks to the government especially frontliners for working tirelessly to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 can be stopped,” it added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Johor agrees to implement federal govt’s CMCO

ISKANDAR PUTERI The Johor State Government will implement the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) as announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on May 1, starting from today.

Menteri Besar Datuk Ir Hasni Mohammad said the state government was prepared to face all the odds and was confident of having adequate quarantine centres and medical expertise.

To ensure the success of the CMCO in the state, the local authorities (PBTs), Johor State Health Department as well as the District Health Office, the Royal Malaysia Police and the Johor National Security Council will work together, he told reporters at his office here today.

On the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Federal government, Hasni said modifications to the SOP could be made if the local authorities found there was a need to do so.

“We were told by the Federal government that we do not have to follow exactly.. it depends on the capacity of each authority.

“If an SOP requires it to be modified, then the government has authorised the local authorities to do so,” he said.

In addition, Hasni said the state government would focus on guarding the state’s border as Johor had many entry points besides neighbouring Singapore.

“We have already made sure that the relevant agencies have adequate resources and have studied the SOP set by the Federal government and based on the capabilities of all the agencies including the police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and related agencies… the SOP set allows for tight border control in Johor,” he said.

In addition, Johor took the initiative to develop the ‘Jejak Johor’ application to monitor the movement of individuals for safety purposes.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Having goals can beat stress during MCO

JOHOR BAHRU It has been 48 days since the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into force and today is the first day of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

There is no denying that the community has faced numerous challenges, mentally and physically.

Hence, setting daily goals is one of the recommended methods to manage the stress of being ‘confined’ at home for too long, following the implementation of the MCO.

According to Permai Hospital clinical psychologist Norhameeza Ahmad, individuals who have daily goals to achieve have a positive outlook on their life even though they may face difficulties.

On the other hand, individuals who lack goals are susceptible to feeling worthless when facing difficulties which would expose them to stress.

“For instance, before (the MCO) we woke up in the morning with the goal of going to work, to earn an income, then we returned home.  Now, once we are up, we are forced to think about things to do today in order for us to ‘check’ a goal.

“People feel useless when they don’t have a goal to check every day. No goals to be checked after 40 days of MCO would result in them being at risk (of experiencing stress),” she told Bernama in an interview recently.

According to Norhameeza, household members can participate in many activities during the MCO period.

Watering the plants, house cleaning, cooking, and playing with children are some of the goals one can accomplish at home.

For those who are feeling the stress of losing jobs or facing pay cuts, she suggested a mindset change where they should not consider the MCO as an obstacle to upgrade themselves.

“They need to understand the situation and convince themselves that after the MCO life goes on as usual. This is the most basic thing that we can help them with, apart from helping them in getting moral support from family and friends,” she said.

Norhameeza added that this measure is needed because feeling stressed could trigger other diseases such as anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

Meanwhile, Permai Hospital psychiatrist Dr Suhaila Mohd Som said since the implementation of the MCO, there has been an increase in cases of individuals experiencing stress.

The increase is gauged by the feedback the hospital received through its counselling hotline and the questionnaire designed as a tool to provide emotional support to the public affected by COVID-19 and the MCO.

This includes the COVID-19 Tele-Counselling hotline by the Johor state health department, designed to complement the COVID-19 Psychosocial Support hotline provided by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Mercy Malaysia and Talian Kasih provided by the Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development.

“This (case increase) is not new. Whenever there is a crisis, the number of such cases is expected to increase as a direct result of the crisis,” she said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

MNS lauds Sabah’s commitment to state forest

KOTA KINABALU The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Sabah Branch lauds the state government’s commitment to gazette high biodiversity forests as Totally Protected Areas (TPA), with the aim of protecting at least 30 per cent of the state’s forests by 2025.

Its chairperson Anna Wong said the statement by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin during the state government policy speech at the 1st Meeting of the 3rd term of Sabah State Assembly sitting on April 16, is a boon to Sabah’s forests and biodiversity.

“With 1.9 million hectares, or 25 per cent, of the forests already gazetted, Sabah leads the country in protecting its natural treasures, which include the pygmy elephant, orangutan and other endemic flora and fauna.

“MNS Sabah fully supports the state’s green pledge and is very happy to lend any assistance to realise this vision,” she said in a statement here, today.

Wong said the MNS offers to share its knowledge and data on Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), which could help identify forests that need to be gazetted as TPAs, or current TPAs that may be under threat.

Already, Sabah’s IBAs include protected areas such as Mount Kinabalu, Danum Valley Conservation Area and Maliau Basin Conservation Area, while biodiversity hotspots being researched include Deramakot Forest Reserve, Imbak Canyon Conservation Area, Lipaso Forest Reserve, Sg Rawog Conservation Area and Ulu Padas Highlands.

Wong also explained that MNS’s IBA work has been ongoing through its partnership with BirdLife International, with the global organisation spending more than 30 years collectively identifying and documenting 13,000 IBA sites around the world for protection and conservation.

Of Malaysia’s 55 IBA sites, 15 are located in Sabah, with another 18 in Peninsular Malaysia and 22 in Sarawak, as detailed in the MNS-produced Directory of Important Bird Areas in Malaysia: key sites for conservation (2007).

Wong said the internationally recognised IBA listing has played a significant role in the conservation of birds and other biodiversity and is widely acknowledged as a practical tool for conservation.

IBA recognition also provides essential benefits to the people, including in terms of ecosystem services and recreational needs, and Wong recommends IBA information to be included as reference or source in the State’s TPA considerations, she added.

“Cooperation with the state government would allow MNS to share its existing IBA data on Sabah’s biodiversity to further enrich the State’s protection of its forests,” she said.

In turn, as MNS is currently undertaking a review of Malaysia’s IBAs, Wong hopes that with the support from the State, we can contribute to help the government to materialise its vision.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

CMCO: Terengganu traders back in business

KUALA TERENGGANU Terengganu traders were seen ‘waiting’ to receive customers when they reopened for business today, the first day of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) after closing down for almost a month and a half, since the (MCO) on March 18.

Nurliza Yusof, 45, a clothing retailer at Pasar Payang here, said she opened for business at 8.30am today, though she was aware not many customers would turn up so soon after the CMCO.

“Many are still being cautious and prefer to stay at home. My main concern is, how am I going to maintain my cash flow because a day before the MCO, I bought over RM20,000 in stock for the school holidays sale,” she said when met by Bernama.

Another clothing retailer, Mohd Nasir Abdul Kadir, 60,  in sharing Nurliza’s view said, many probably wanted to wait and see before going out shopping to prepare for Aidilfitri celebrations.

“Usually, sales will increase as Aidilfitri approaches as people will be buying batik, kain pelikat and fabrics as gifts when visiting relatives or friends.

“We do understand that many still fear going out following the COVID-19 pandemic. However shops will operate as usual and I hope the situation will improve as soon as possible,” he said.

A check by Bernama at three recreational areas, namely the Gong Badak Sports Complex, Kuala Nerus, the Padang Hilir and Batu Buruk Recreational Parks in Kuala Terengganu, saw only a few people wearing face masks, jogging and maintaining their distance.

Batu Buruk Recreational Park Club chairman Datuk Hashim Mamat when met jogging said, the public should abide by the guidelines set, so as not to endanger their lives and others, now that the government has eased on the restrictions.

KTCC Mall Operations and Corporate Services Manager, Tengku Nurosmar Shah Tengku Abdullah said, on the first day of the CMCO, premises owners are given the opportunity to mark out the one-metre distance to separate customers in a queue and to ensure other items such as hand sanitisers are available.

“In addition, we will also check on visitors’ body temperature before they are allowed to enter,” he said adding that only those with face masks on are allowed into the mall.

State  Entrepreneurship, Micro-Industry and Hawkers Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Nurkhuzaini Ab Rahman when contacted said, the implementation of the CMCO would help revive the state and nation’s economy.

He reminded traders including restaurant owners to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as recording names and phone numbers of each customer entering the store, ensuring that social distancing is practised and hand sanitisers are available for customers.

“Now that the government has eased the MCO, I hope traders in Terengganu will adhere to the SOPs which have been established. This is the new normal under the MCO and we may have to embrace it for sometime until further announcement,” he said.  

Source: BERNAMA News Agency