Project

Prophylaxis of at risks persons with an ultrapotent SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibody

Duration
22 May 2020 → 31 May 2021
Funding
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Virology
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Non-clinical studies
Keywords
COVID-19 antibody prophylaxis
 
Project description

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),

which causes COVID-19, has now spread all over the globe, infected

millions, and already killed more than 200.000 people. Elderly people

are most likely to develop severe disease and to die from COVID-19.

The aim of this project is to have a manufacturable, cost-effective,

ultrapotent SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibody ready for prophylactic

use in the most vulnerable individuals by May 2021. This biologic will

be subcutaneously injectable and fill the gap where, yet to come,

COVID-19 vaccines may fail or perform poorly, i.e. in elderly

individuals. The antibody will comprise a single domain antibody

(also known as a nanobody) that targets the most vulnerable site in

the viral spike protein. This nanobody building block will be fused to a

human IgG1 Fc domain that carries half-life extension mutations, an

alteration that has already been introduced in a multitude of clinically

approved antibody-based biologics. Moreover, we will demonstrate

high yield manufacturability of this SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing biologic

in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells (the gold standard production

system), develop a downstream protein purification protocol, and

demonstrate stability and antiviral potency in vitro and in vivo, in the

highly relevant hamster model.