PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Integral Molecular, a leader in membrane protein antibody discovery, in conjunction with Blood Systems Research Institute (BSRI), has identified potent inhibitory human antibodies against the debilitating mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). The lead candidate, IM-CKV063, is one of the most potent antibodies against CHIKV isolated to date, and protects animals from CHIKV-induced lethality and arthritis. This work, described by Fong et al., appears in the current issue of the Journal of Virology (December 2014).
The generation and characterization of anti-CHIKV antibodies was enabled by Integral Molecular’s MPS Discovery Engine®, its proprietary strategy for antibody isolation against membrane protein targets. Antibodies from patients naturally infected with virus were isolated by phage display using Integral Molecular’s Lipoparticle reagents. Epitope mapping using Integral Molecular’s Shotgun Mutagenesis technology identified the antibodies’ molecular binding sites on viral surface proteins, providing critical insights for vaccine design. A team of scientists headed by Dr. Graham Simmons at BSRI in San Francisco demonstrated that IM-CKV063 protects animals from CHIKV infection and disease.
“The discovery of potent antibodies with therapeutic potential against Chikungunya virus is an exciting application of the MPS Discovery Engine®,” said Benjamin Doranz, CEO of Integral Molecular. “Given the rapid spread of this virus and the lack of specific treatment options, we are committed to developing this fully human antibody into a first-in-class therapeutic.”
CHIKV recently emerged in the Americas, infecting over one million people across the Caribbean and South America, and infections are now spreading into the United States. The discovery and characterization of CHIKV antibodies stems from a successfully completed five-year contract awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Under a subsequent NIAID contract, Integral Molecular is focusing on antibodies that target hepatitis C and Ebola viruses.
About Integral Molecular
Integral Molecular is a research-driven biotechnology company creating a pipeline of therapeutic antibodies against under-exploited membrane protein targets, including GPCRs, ion channels, transporters and viral envelope proteins using its proprietary MPS Discovery Engine®. This platform is built on the company’s Lipoparticle and Shotgun Mutagenesis technologies and over 10 years of experience optimizing membrane proteins, enabling the isolation, characterization, and engineering of monoclonal antibodies against otherwise intractable membrane protein targets. The company currently has therapeutic programs focused on pain, autoimmunity and infectious diseases.