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Sep 12, 2011

Swiss Institute Spins Out Human mAb Therapeutics Firm

  • Monoclonal antibody therapeutics firm Humabs has been officially spun out out from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Bellinzona, Switzerland. The new firm aims to exploit its antibody discovery platforms to generate a pipeline of fully human mAbs targeting infectious and inflammatory disease.

    Humabs was founded to further develop two antibody platforms aimed at rapidly and efficiently isolating high affinity, fully human mAbs from memory B cells and plasma cells. The platform involves the screening of cells from high responders to identify those that produce antibodies with unique specificity. Humab says the platforms have already generated a bank of over 500 antibody-producing cells.

    The firm’s preclinical pipeline includes over 200 antibodies that have demonstrated strong efficacy both in vitro and in vivo against viruses including cytomegalovirus, HIV, influenza, Dengue virus, heptiatis B and C, and rabies. A paper published in Science last month by Humab researchers described the isolation of a neutralizing mAb, designated F16, which targets all 16 hemagglutinin subtypes of influenza A.

    Humab is currently in discussions with potential partners for F16 and has already licensed out its cytomegalovirus antibodies. Additional R&D collaborations with industry partners are in place. The firm has established its laboratories close to the IRB and will continue to maintain close links with the Institute to support its scientific expertise and access to facilities.

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