COVID-19 update - 6 May

Third update on BPL’s work to ensure the provision of critical medicines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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OVERVIEW

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, BPL is committed to giving regular updates.

BPL continues to meet the considerable challenges the pandemic presents without major disruptions to date and always with the safety of our team members as our primary consideration.  We are totally committed to the reliable supply of high-quality plasma derived medicines which are always so important in the daily lives of patients worldwide, but which are even more critical in this pandemic.

We welcome all efforts to accelerate the development, production and deployment of a convalescent plasma solution to help protect vulnerable groups.  News reports on the extent to which various types of plasma derived therapies are being tested by scientists and healthcare professionals around the world underline the power and importance of human plasma and the antibodies it contains.

BPL is actively engaged in various initiatives regarding the potential manufacture and supply of a Hyperimmune solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyperimmune solutions are already used for certain patients with other viral infections such as hepatitis B, chicken pox, rabies and bacterial infections such as tetanus.  It is with the knowledge derived from many years of experience in this industry, that BPL believes such a solution may also have the potential to treat people at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

OPERATIONS AND TEAM UPDATE

BPL’s three priorities remain:

  1. To safeguard the health and wellbeing of our team members. 
  2. To maintain a reliable supply of critical medicines to our patients.
  3. To remain in full compliance with our regulatory duties and obligations.

Our team

  • We continue to improve on the measures already in place at our Elstree site to help our team stay safe at work, including the use of face masks and the placement of thermal imaging cameras at key site locations.
  • We have secured additional supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face masks for our US plasma collection centres so that team members and donors can feel safer.
  • All other employees that do not participate directly in the production or plasma collection processes, continue to work remotely but remain fully engaged in supporting BPL’s mission during this challenging time.

Our reliable supply of critical medicines

  • All of BPL’s 51 US plasma centres continue to operate — a few on a reduced hours basis — having implemented necessary social distancing and sanitization measures in order to protect our team members, and to ensure the wellbeing of our donors. The continuity of our plasma supply remains a top priority for the business.
  • Thanks to the hard work of our teams and our supply partners, the Elstree site in the UK continues to operate on a continuous 24x7 basis, without any major interruptions to date.
  • BPL’s global supply chain has shown its resilience through various pandemic related logistical challenges. Through the end of April, demand for our medicines continues to increase with volumes of IgG up 26%, FVIII/FIX Coagulation Factors +12%, and our Factor X deficiency therapy +31%.

DEVELOPMENT OF A COVID-19 HYPERIMMUNE IG SOLUTION

On April 4th, BPL announced that it had joined the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance. This Alliance is an unprecedented partnership of world-leading plasma companies — spanning plasma collection, development, production, and distribution — and was formed in response to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.  The Alliance aims to speed development of a hyperimmune immunoglobulin product by sharing the COVID-19 research and resources of its individual participating companies.  By bringing together our brightest minds, sharing information, and leveraging our collective expertise, we hope to make progress faster than if we worked independently.  Yesterday, it was announced that the Alliance was further expanded by the incorporation of new member companies to its ranks, thus increasing even more its global scale and capabilities.  For more information, please visit the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance website.

The current plan is for the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance to begin clinical trials as early as June to study the safety and effectiveness of an intravenously administered CoVIg-19 hyperimmune immunoglobulin (H-Ig) treatment for people at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

In addition, BPL continues to evaluate the viability of a hyperimmune immunoglobulin product that is administered via intramuscular injection, leveraging its well-established production of hyperimmune products that treat other viral infections.   

As part of its contributions to these efforts, BPL Plasma has launched a programme to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients at 17 of its 51 centres, with the rest expected to join the effort soon.  This convalescent plasma contains antibodies that could help the immune system fight the new coronavirus.  

We urge all healthy adults — whether they have recovered from COVID-19 or not — to donate plasma.  US based prospective donors can get started by going to our BPLP’s donor registration site or through the plasma bot on the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance website.  In the UK, the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service is welcoming potential donors through its registration site.   

These are critical steps towards the development of potential plasma derived therapeutic solutions.  BPL and the other CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance members believe that, in coordination with governmental agencies, a sustainable convalescent plasma treatment can be swiftly developed in time to help protect vulnerable groups until a vaccine can be successfully developed, clinically tested and supplied.

Media Enquiries:

Sofia Newitt, Vico Partners
snewitt@vicopartners.com
+44-(0)20 3957 5045

Other Enquiries:

BPLanswers.Coronavirus@bpl.co.uk

 

About Bio Products Laboratory (BPL)

Recognising the power of plasma and with many years of experience in the industry, BPL supplies high-quality plasma derived medicines to meet the needs of clinicians, patients and customers globally.  Headquartered in the United Kingdom and with plasma collection centres across the United States, we are dedicated to producing medicines for the treatment of immune deficiencies, bleeding disorders and infectious diseases as well for critical care.  BPL invests in the latest R&D, technology and manufacturing methods, and continuously adapts to ensure that we continue to serve all our stakeholders effectively.  For more information visit  http://www.bplgroup.com

BPL consists of two operating divisions - BPL Plasma and BPL Therapeutics. BPL Plasma, headquartered in Austin, Texas and operating in the USA, collects plasma from donors, in around 51 centres across the US. BPL Plasma employs over 2000 staff, to support the needs of donors and to ensure high-quality plasma collection in all their centres. Plasma collection is regulated by both FDA and MHRA, and BPL Plasma follow industry guidelines. BPL Plasma operates clean and safe plasma facilities, staffed with trained personnel, dedicated to supporting donors through the process that leads to the donation of plasma. Plasma is shipped to the headquarters of BPL Therapeutics in Elstree, United Kingdom. The plasma is fractionated, purified, and filled through the efforts of our over 1000 employees involved in production, quality, R&D, commercial, customer services and administrative activities.  BPL’s plasma derived medicines are commercially available in the UK, USA and 30 plus other countries around the world through our network of local affiliates and distribution partners.