ImmunoPrecise discovers antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2

ImmunoPrecise announces discovery of functional antibodies from humans and llama, identified using the company’s phage display technology

June28th,2020
Mel J. Yeates
VICTORIA, B.C.—ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd. (IPA) has announced the identification of numerous lead candidate antibodies with highly-potent neutralizing activity in vitro, which are being manufactured for further testing and possible inclusion in the company’s PolyTope mAb Therapy meant to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
“Arriving at this critical point in our preliminary research with many lead, functional therapeutic candidates is indicative of the broad scientific scope of IPA’s anti-COVID-19 programs,” said Dr. Jennifer Bath, chief executive officer and president of ImmunoPrecise. “An effective cocktail therapy for COVID-19, targeting multiple epitopes on the virus, could prove fundamental in combating this pandemic in an effective and enduring way.”
 
ImmunoPrecise deployed several proprietary discovery platforms that leveraged the immune systems of humans, llama, rabbits and Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s OmniAb genetically engineered rats, which produce human antibodies. The new neutralizing antibodies are the result of functional screenings from the top 300 lead antibodies analyzed from the human and llama campaigns.
 
ImmunoPrecise stated that functional analysis of the remaining 1,300 lead antibodies from the rabbit and OmniAb rat campaigns were performed independently. The company anticipates the release of the preliminary functional data screens from these additional programs in the near future.  
 
ImmunoPrecise’s approach has reportedly led to a diverse set of lead antibody candidates, and generated many potently neutralizing antibodies to multiple epitopes. This supports the company’s aim of generating a therapeutic that retains efficacy, even as SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve. ImmunoPrecise is preparing to test these lead antibodies against additional, documented, mutated strains of the virus. The company anticipates that preclinical studies for these antibodies will begin in summer 2020.
 
On June 22, ImmunoPrecise also reported that a preclinical study to analyze the immunogenicity, safety and potency of the company’s novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, when formulated with LiteVax B.V.’s adjuvant, has been granted funding by TRANSVAC2.
 
TRANSVAC2 is a network of leading European groups working in the field of vaccine development, which is itself funded by the European Commission. This funding is expected to cover the complete costs of a preclinical vaccine study.
 
The purpose of the collaboration between ImmunoPrecise and LiteVax is to conduct a pre-clinical study to determine whether ImmunoPrecise’s protein-based vaccine candidates, formulated with LiteVax’s adjuvant, result in potent, neutralizing antibody responses that confer protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a swine animal model. ImmunoPrecise will supply protein-based vaccine candidates, and LiteVax will supply its adjuvant. Both parties will retain full rights to their respective proprietary assets.
 
The preclinical vaccine trials are scheduled to begin in August, and ImmunoPrecise anticipates that the data will be compiled by mid-November. Should the preclinical study prove successful, IPA and LiteVax could negotiate the terms for a preclinical study in a second animal model, as well as details around the potential commercialization of any resulting vaccine.
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