Development of targeted Covid-19 diagnostic tools in a new partnership

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The La Jolla Institute of Immunology (LJI), a research organization dedicated to the study of the immune system, has signed a licensing agreement with Leinco Technologies, developer and manufacturer of recombinant proteins, antibodies and conjugates.

Leinco also provides bespoke manufacturing services to the diagnostic and biopharmaceutical industries to take advantage of the proprietary Covid-19 antibodies developed at LJI.

Under the terms of the agreement, Leinco will gain exclusive access to certain SARS-CoV-2 antibodies directed against the virus core (N) protein, which forms the inner envelope of the virus. In addition to developing the antibodies for use in diagnostic applications based on antibodies specific for the N protein, Leinco will make these antibodies commercially available as part of its catalog of research tools.

Most first generation Covid-19 vaccines are directed exclusively against the spike (S) protein on the surface of the virus, but the N protein is just as effective in eliciting a strong antibody response. But more importantly, protein N appears to be less prone to the accumulation of mutations than protein S, for which a number of new mutations have been reported during the pandemic.

Since currently distributed vaccines only induce antibodies against the S protein, the presence of antibodies against N allows physicians to distinguish immune responses resulting from a SARS-CoV-2 infection from a vaccine. based on protein S.

Wm. Pat Leinert Sr., President and CEO of Leinco Technologies, said: “The partnership with the La Jolla Institute of Immunology is a wonderful opportunity to screen, develop and scale up the manufacture of SARS-CoV reagents. -2, in particular antibodies targeting the N protein. Thanks to La Jolla’s in-depth knowledge of infectious diseases and Leinco’s new protein expression platform, combined, we are able to provide reagents and High quality diagnostic tools to the masses and other SARS-CoV-2 research and treatment options. “

These antibodies are the result of a molecular discovery pipeline at LJI developed by structural immunologists Kathryn Hastie and Erica Ollmann Saphire. Saphire is a professor at the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccines and director of an international consortium to evaluate therapeutic antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 to prevent and treat COVID-19 (covic.lji.org).

Dr Saphire, whose research focuses on the host-pathogen interface at the molecular level to understand how immune defense can overcome and control viruses, said:

“The high-resolution view of the surface of the interaction between the virus and the immune system, where the rubber meets the road, combined with the precision engineering of the molecules involved, allowed us to discover and develop these antibodies.

“Personally, it’s satisfying to know that the antibodies developed with the unique expertise that my team members bring to the table will provide tools that healthcare professionals, diagnostic labs and other researchers urgently need. to track and treat Covid-19. ”

Discovery pipelines against other diseases are underway.


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