PHILADELPHIA — Integral Molecular announces the isolation of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies specific for the Zika virus envelope, thereby enabling vital vaccine research and the development of improved diagnostics to combat the ongoing Zika epidemic.
The antibodies will be used to further understand critical elements of Zika virus replication that can serve to design improved vaccines and characterize the immune responses of infected individuals. In addition, Integral Molecular’s Zika virus antibodies can be applied to the development of better diagnostics due to their exquisite specificity.
These highly specific antibodies were isolated using Integral Molecular’s proprietary MPS Antibody Discovery platform and long-standing expertise with mosquito borne viruses. Until now, Zika-specific antibody discovery has been hampered by cross-reactivity between the envelope proteins of Zika and Dengue viruses, with antibodies unable to differentiate between these closely related viruses. To overcome this, isolated antibodies were screened for specificity and virus neutralization using Zika reporter virus particles (RVPs), also recently developed by Integral Molecular.
“There is a significant need for monoclonal antibodies highly specific to Zika virus,” says Ross Chambers, Director of Integral Molecular’s antibody discovery team, adding that “we were able to isolate antibodies that overcome the challenges of cross-reactivity and that potently neutralize the virus at nanomolar concentrations.”
These antibodies were presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference (November 13-16, 2016). Integral Molecular’s work on Zika virus was also recently highlighted in a November article published in the journal Nature.
About Integral Molecular
Integral Molecular is a research-driven biotechnology company creating innovative technologies and a pipeline of therapeutic antibodies against under-exploited membrane protein targets, including GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, and viral envelopes. This platform is built on the company’s Lipoparticle and Shotgun Mutagenesis technologies and over 15 years of experience optimizing membrane proteins, enabling the isolation, characterization, and engineering of monoclonal antibodies against otherwise intractable membrane protein targets. Integral Molecular discovers antibodies for partners in parallel with its own independent work developing antibodies for licensing. The company currently has therapeutic programs focused on pain, immunity, and infectious diseases.