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This piece is presented by South Dakota Biotech.
From clinical trials to international leadership, biotech pioneer Eddie Sullivan is starting 2017 with big developments.
We caught up with him for an update on progress at his business, SAB Biotherapeutics, and his perspective of where biotech is headed in South Dakota.
SAB is coming off a huge year in 2016, with multiple clinical trials moving forward. You began a phase one clinical trial for your human antibody treatment for MERS-CoV, or Middle East Respirator Syndrome Coronavirus, last year. Can we get an update on it?
The in-volunteer portion of the trial is over. While the study is blinded, we do know that there were not serious adverse events reported, which gives a lot of comfort that the antibodies are safe. We are currently performing tests on the blood samples taken from the volunteers in the study to determine how long our antibodies remain in their system and if there was any immune reaction to them.
You also received a Small Business Innovation Research grant to assist with clinical trials for your human antibody treatment for influenza. What’s your next step with that?
We are currently producing the antibodies to four flu strains that we will be testing this year and moving to clinical trials at the end of the year. This is a collaboration with BioSNTR and everything is going according to schedule on this research project.
SAB had exciting news last year, being named one of six proposals by the World Health Organization to serve as a potential platform technology for priority infectious diseases that could cause epidemics. Are you continuing to work with the WHO?
We continue to reach out and work with WHO as well as other organizations that have an interest in our antibodies as a solution to emerging infectious diseases.
Somehow you also find time to serve as chairman for the food and agriculture section board of the international BIO trade organization. What does that role entail, and how might it help South Dakota biotech companies?
South Dakota is prominently represented on the national stage in the Biotechnology Innovation Organization in Washington, D.C. This organization represent the uses and technologies of biology in human and animal health, food and agriculture, and industrial and environment — like biofuels –applications. SAB and Poet are South Dakota companies represented on the board. It has been my pleasure over the last year to serve as chairman of the food and agriculture section of the board in accomplishing the important work represented by the section, particularly as we get to know officials in the new presidential administration.
How would you describe the state of biotech in South Dakota today? Is our focus in the right direction? What more should we be doing?
South Dakota has made tremendous strides over the last decade in developing research infrastructure both in academia as well as industry. This is certainly true with regard to biotech as companies have been started and now several are developing products, moving through FDA-regulated clinical trials and doing more research than ever before. We must remain vigilant in continuing this momentum that has developed over the last decade and do even more.
From clinical trials to international leadership, biotech pioneer Eddie Sullivan is starting 2017 with some big developments.