SF Company Working On MERS, Zika, Flu Treatments

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From the flu to Zika, a Sioux Falls company is working on treatments that affect people all across the world.

This summer, SAB Biotherapeutics reached a major milestone in its efforts.

“We’ve certainly had a lot more progress over the last year,” SAB Biotherapuetics CEO Eddie Sullivan said.

SAB started out as Hematech in 1998. The company has been working with genetically-engineered cattle to produce large amounts of human antibodies.

“We’ve done lots of testing in the laboratory and in animals,” Sullivan said.

Now, for the first time, SAB is testing some of its treatments in humans. It recently got approval for a clinical trial for its MERS treatment. Currently there are no approved vaccines or specific treatments for MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. You may remember that the potentially deadly virus caused a global stir two years ago.

“Seventy percent of biotech companies that start never enter clinical trials, so we’ve already reached a major milestone by moving to clinical trials,” Sullivan said.

The trial is testing just how safe the medication is for humans. Sullivan says he’s optimistic and hopes to enter the next phase of testing soon.

“We can do it right here in South Dakota,” Sullivan said.

SAB also recently got an almost $1.5 million grant to advance its treatment for the flu.  The company is partnering with USD Sanford School of Medicine on that project.

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