MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ridgeback Biotherapeutics (“Ridgeback Bio”), a biotechnology company experienced in antiviral drug development including medicines to treat SARS-Cov-2 and Ebola, announces deployment of the Ridgeback Ebola Rapid Response team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This deployment is an immediate response to the 13th outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease that was declared earlier this month by the Ministry of Health in the DRC after a 2-year-old boy tested positive for Ebola Zaire by PCR in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu, DRC. As of October 18 a total of seven cases have been identified: three probable, four confirmed and, tragically, five deaths.
Ridgeback Bio activities include patient-specific treatments, data collection and samples collection/storage, which includes providing free treatment with EbangaTM (Ansuvimab-zykl), which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year.
“EbangaTM is an important tool in the fight against Ebola. We have mobilized the Ridgeback Ebola Rapid Response team because we feel an immediate obligation to assist in a timely response that will save lives and hopefully prevent further spread of this insidious disease. This team is led by Ridgeback Bio’s Dr. Sabue Mulangu, an accomplished and experienced physician who has personally been involved in over half of all documented Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Wendy Holman, CEO of Ridgeback Bio.
Ridgeback Bio is supporting a team of clinicians and pharmacists specialized in the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) patients. The Ridgeback Ebola Rapid Response Team is being deployed from Institut National de Recherche in Kinshasa to Beni and will work with local clinicians in care management to provide EbangaTM treatment and to ensure timely clinical reporting. The Ridgeback Ebola Rapid Response Team is maintaining a current inventory of EbangaTM and the necessary infusion kits. Ridgeback Bio will also support the local laboratory in the collection, transport, aliquoting and storage of samples from treated EVD patients as well as provide clinical data collection and management including pharmacovigilance activities. In this outbreak, as in all other Ebola outbreaks, EbangaTM and any corresponding support from Ridgeback Bio will be given to patients free of charge.
“At Ridgeback, it is our goal to treat Ebola patients quickly after diagnosis. In order to achieve this, we have established the Ridgeback Ebola Rapid Response team which will work with our partners at the Institut National de Recherche in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Timing is crucial for two important reasons – earlier treatment increases survival and decreases the chance that a local outbreak turns into an epidemic. We are dedicated to our patients and focused on supporting them in this outbreak and future outbreaks,” said Dr. Sabue Mulangu, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Ridgeback Bio.
ABOUT RIDGEBACK BIOTHERAPEUTICS
Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP is a biotechnology company focused on emerging infectious diseases. Ridgeback Biotherapeutics markets EbangaTM for the treatment of Ebola and has a late-stage development pipeline which includes molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19. Development of molnupiravir is entirely funded by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck & Co., Inc. All equity capital in Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, LP originated from Wayne and Wendy Holman, who are committed to investing in and supporting medical technologies that will save lives. The team at Ridgeback Biotherapeutics is dedicated to working toward finding life-saving and life-changing solutions for patients and diseases that need champions.
Ebanga™ (ansuvimab-zykl, formerly referred to as mAb114) is a monoclonal antibody isolated from a human survivor of the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, a city in the DRC. Nancy Sullivan, Ph.D., Chief of the Biodefense Research Section at the NIAID,VRC and her team, alongside scientists from VIR Biotechnology’s Humabs BioMed S.A. subsidiary, discovered that the survivor retained antibodies against Ebola 11 years after infection. The team isolated the antibodies, tested the most favorable ones in both laboratory and nonhuman primate studies, and selected ansuvimab as the most promising among the set for clinical trial. Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, Director General of DRC’s INRB and one of the scientists involved in the original detection of the Ebola virus in 1976, played a key role in discovering Ebanga. Ebanga development has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, under Contract Numbers 75A50119C00059 and 75A50120C00009.