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New Allergy Biotech Launches, Raises $10M

Peanutes in shells

(USDA.gov)

4 Aug. 2020. A new company developing treatments to relieve allergic reactions with reprogrammed antibodies began work and is raising $10 million in its first venture funding round. IgGenix Inc, in South San Francisco, California is adapting research at Stanford University on immunoglobulin E, or IgE, antibodies and their role in triggering an allergic cascade.

Stanford University biomedical engineering professor Stephen Quake, a scientific founder of IgGenix, studies measurement of biological processes down to the level of individual cells, including workings of cells in the immune system. In December 2018, Quake and colleagues reported in the journal Science on B cells in the immune system, cells that produce antibodies, in this case IgE, a less common antibody. IgE antibodies are produced by B cells when the body is infected with certain parasitic worms, but also in some people when reacting to an allergic substance.

When IgEs bind to another type of immune cell, called mast cells, this immune response can start a series of symptoms called an allergic cascade ranging from simple itching to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. In their paper, Quake with Stanford colleagues co-authors Derek Croote and Kari Nadeau isolated and analyzed IgE-producing B cells in six people with peanut allergies. From their analysis, the team produced synthetic antibodies that in the lab suppress IgE antibodies generated by peanut allergens.

Quake, with Croote, Nadeau, and veteran life science entrepreneur Bruce Hironaka founded IgGenix last year to bring these discoveries to market. IgGenix is developing engineered immunoglobulin G or IgG antibodies, the most common antibodies in humans, reprogrammed from IgEs. Most treatments for peanut and other food allergies today aim to desensitize people with allergies and build a greater tolerance for the offending food substance. On the other hand, the company believes its engineered antibodies address underlying causes of allergic reactions, by blocking the process producing an allergic cascade, thus acting as a therapy or a preventative drug.

“In individuals with allergies, specialized B cells produce IgE antibodies that recognize a specific allergen,” says Croote, now IgGenix’s chief technical officer in a company statement. “We know that these IgE antibodies, when bound to mast cells, initiate what can be a life-threatening cascade following even minimal exposure to an allergen. By intervening in the allergic cascade, we believe we have the potential to truly make a difference for patients suffering from severe allergic disease.”

IgGenix is raising $10 million in its first venture financing round, led by technology industry investor Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, California, with Parker Ventures joining the round. Hironaka is the company’s CEO, with Quake and Nadeau serving as scientific advisers, and Quake joining the company’s board.

“To date,” notes Hironaka, “while the awareness of severe food allergies is increasing, there remains a critical need for therapeutics that effectively block and even prevent life-threatening allergic reactions. We believe that through our novel antibody selection and engineering approach, we have the potential to improve the lives of millions of allergy sufferers.”

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Four Ways Businesses Are Surviving Covid-19

– Contributed content –

Shopper in mask

(Anna Shvets, Pexels)

4 Aug. 2020. It’s undeniable – Covid-19 is hurting businesses. Unfortunately, the companies that are hit the hardest are the small and local organizations. With less money and fewer resources, it’s a struggle to limit the damage and stem the bleeding.

However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have a backup plan. Like every business, you can use the competition, big or small, as the blueprint for your success. As long as you tweak the foundations to match your company’s requirements, you should survive and thrive.

Here are the examples that you can copy that are helping enterprises through this difficult period.

Prioritize health

Putting the health and safety of your staff and customers first is the key. As a boss, it’s essential that your brand never puts profits over people’s safety. If it does, it’ll gain a reputation (and rightly so) as a business that only cares about making money. L’Oreal proves how even massive brands that own a huge chunk of the market can enhance their image in crises. The beauty company has launched a social and environmental fund to support the impact of the coronavirus pandemic worth €150m.

You won’t have the same money to donate, but every little helps when people are struggling to make ends meet.

Negotiate leases

McDonald’s, the biggest brand in the fast-food industry, and one of the largest businesses in the entire world stopped paying rent in some countries around the world. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s a sign that you can decide to renegotiate the terms of your lease. It doesn’t matter whether you run a cell tower or a brick-and-mortar store – you have leverage. Not only can you ask for help from a cell tower attorney or a traditional business lawyer, but you can highlight that you can’t pay the usual rates.

Considering landlords prefer to receive some cash, especially when money is tight on their end, you’ll get some leeway.

Manage your cash flow

Your company is your life. Without it, you don’t have the vehicle for success that pays the rent and keeps the roof over your head. Although your current resources don’t go far, you’ve got to showcase that you’re doing all you can manage your cash flow responsibly. Banks, for example, tried to pay dividends in the UK until public uproar made them reverse the decision. Speaking of the UK, just compare the image of their Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the Trump administration.

It’s a no-contest because Mr Sunak has spent savvily where necessary and saved the rest.

Switch up

If in doubt, you shouldn’t be afraid to swap your business plan for something new that will guide you through the tough times. Boober Eats is now a takeout service that delivers food to its customers. Previously, it was a strip club, and food probably didn’t account for 10% of the business’s profits. Still, the organization did something different and received national and international coverage as a result.

Would you tweak your strategy? Would you do whatever it takes to keep the doors open?

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Trial Set for Covid-19 Antibodies in Long-Term Care

Mobile lab team

Mobile lab team with its converted RV-research unit (Eli Lilly and Co.)

3 Aug. 2020. Two companies and NIH are beginning a clinical trial of synthetic antibodies to both treat and prevent Covid-19 infections among people in long-term care. A team from Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis and AbCellera Biologics Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia, with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or NIAID, part of National Institutes of Health, plan to use mobile research units to conduct the trial on site at skilled nursing and assisted-living homes.

The trial aims to test Eli Lilly’s and AbCellera’s experimental synthetic antibody code-named LY-CoV555 in a population particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 40,273 deaths from Covid-19 occurred at nursing homes in the U.S. as of 19 July, about 30 percent of the nearly 133,000 deaths tabulated by Covid Tracking Project by that date.

AbCellera uses what it calls deep mining of B-cells from the immune system to discover antibodies for preventing and treating diseases caused by a range of viruses and bacteria. B-cells are white blood cells in the immune system that produce antibodies, proteins that directly attack invading pathogens, such as bacteria and parasites. The company’s antibody discovery process combines a number of technologies, beginning with single-cell screening with microfluidics, or lab-on-a-chip devices. AbCellera also uses advanced bioinformatics for further analysis and high-throughput characterization to express hundreds of even rare antibodies.

In March, Lilly and AbCellera agreed to co-develop synthetic antibodies that neutralize the proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus spike that enter cells and begin the infection process. For the collaboration, AbCellera adapted its discovery process from a project begun in 2018 for U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, to devise a rapid system for countermeasures against medical emergencies, including pandemics. AbCellera says it so far screened nearly 62 million patient samples that yielded some 2,000 unique antibodies that bind to SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

“Six months ago, the world knew very little about this virus,” says Ester Falconer, who heads R&D at AbCellera in a company statement. “The data we are continually generating will be absolutely critical to bringing solutions to the pandemic.”

As reported by Science & Enterprise in June, the two companies and Vaccine Research Center at NIAID, tested LY-CoV555 among hospitalized Covid-19 patients in an early-stage clinical trial, and since then began a mid-stage trial testing LY-CoV555 against a placebo with 400 Covid-19 patients having mild to moderate symptoms. The new late-stage trial is enrolling 2,400 participants among residents and staff at late-term care facilities, evaluating LY-CoV555 as a treatment for Covid-19 infections, but also a preventive drug. The study team aims to test participants for infections four weeks after a single dose of LY-CoV555, then four weeks later for symptoms and complications.

To reduce burdens on participating long-term care facilities, Lilly is turning recreational vehicles into mobile research labs. The custom-modified mobile units will serve as infusion clinics for clinical trial participants, as well as self-contained materials storage and preparation labs. The company says it plans deploy a fleet of these mobile labs for the trial.

“While it’s not easy to conduct clinical trials in this setting,” says Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientist in a company statement, “we’re taking on the challenge in an effort to help those who need us the most.”

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Covid-19 Vaccines, Therapies – 3 August 2020

Vaccine and therapy tracker

BioRender Covid-19 vaccine and therapy tracker. (BioRender.com)

3 Aug. 2020. A continuing feature on Science & Enterprise is a weekly statistical report of vaccines and therapies for Covid-19 offered by BioRender, a scientific illustration software company. BioRender, in Toronto, Ontario, develops graphics tools for life sciences, biotechnology, and other disciplines.

Over the past week, seven more therapy candidates entered clinical trials bringing that number to 259, while the number of therapies in development remained the same at 337. And as reported last week, the numbers of vaccine candidates in development and clinical trials show modest but steady growth, now up to 157 and 35 respectively.

In addition to the summary dashboard shown above, the BioRender Covid-19 vaccine and therapy page provides details of the vaccines and therapies, as well as an activity feed showing news updates on these drugs.

A front-page story this morning in the New York Times tells about political pressures on U.S. health agencies to take short cuts to approve a Covid-19 vaccine before the 2020 election in November. These short cuts include bypassing FDA’s advisory committees that review evidence and recommend actions by the agency, an almost unprecedented step for a drug of this magnitude. The implications are immense, including for trust in other vaccines and therapies needing FDA approval.

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Infographic – An Ounce of Pandemic Prevention

Chart: Cost of pandemic prevention

Click on image for full-size view. (Statista)

1 Aug. 2020. A recent article in the journal Science estimates the public investments needed to prevent the next damaging pandemic, against the costs imposed on the world from Covid-19. The results are rather startling, as shown in this weekend’s infographic, compliments of a chart posted this week by the business research company Statista.

The team of economists, medical researchers, and ecologists takes a life-cycle perspective in estimating the costs of preventing the next pandemic, starting with controlling the source of zoonotic viruses that jump from animals to humans. The authors highlight, for example, costs of reforestation to strengthen the natural habitat for tropical animals threatened by the spread of cities that bring more people in contact with these species. Other steps include ending wild animal markets and meat consumption.

The researchers calculate some $260 billion are needed over the next 10 years to prevent a future pandemic. While that’s a sizable price tag, it’s only two percent of the $11.5 trillion in economic damage from the current pandemic, a mid-point estimate in the range of $8.1 to $15.8 trillion. As the saying goes, you can pay now or pay later.

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Take care of your liver !!! … Stay healthy

– Sponsored content –

Liver illustration

(Mikael Häggström, Wikimedia Commons)

31 July 2020. As we all know liver is an important part of our digestive system and helps in cleaning out the toxin of our body making the blood clean and pure. The other function of the liver is to produce bile in the body to enable us to digest food, processing medicines, and helping us to digest fat. The main function of the liver is to store glucose and produce proteins for clotting blood among all other important functions.

It generates cells up to a point while repeated damage can cause liver inflammation and a few deadly diseases like cirrhosis.

Here in this medical condition the liver gets shrink and harden. It changes the structure of the liver and gradually it ceases to function well. Usually, it has been seen that intake of high doses of alcohol, or more fat intake can cause damage to the liver. Further any viral infection like hepatitis can be a cause of the same.

We, Promethea are a prominent warrior for all liver diseases. We are committed to bring patients life-saving treatments to reduce the need for liver transplantation. Log on to www.promethera.com to know more about us.

We are the innovators in the niche. We have experts in cell therapy research to treat your liver damage effectively against cirrhotic liver diseases. We are furnished with all advanced technology and excellence.

You will get to know about your liver damage once the damage to the liver is fairly advanced. So take appropriate care of your liver to keep it in a healthy condition.

We suggest you to take the help of a professional medical practitioner if encountered with the following signs of the liver.

Some signs your liver may be struggling are:

  1. Fatigue and tiredness, it can be a common symptom of liver damage.
  2. You may get Nausea because toxins build up in the bloodstream.
  3. The pale stool is another disability of the liver to filtering out toxins.
  4. A sign of Yellow skin or eyes accompanied by itchy sensation.

Understand the significance of the matter and act accordingly, right from today.

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NIH Issues Contracts for Faster Covid-19 Diagnostics

Accula SARS-CoV-2 test

Accula point-of-care test to detect SARS-CoV-2 viruses (Mesa Biotech)

31 July 2020. National Institutes of Health awarded contracts to seven companies for higher-speed Covid-19 detection tests to ease current reporting delays. The agency says contracts with the seven companies are the first awards made from its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, totaling $248.7 million.

The U.S. needs a much higher volume of Covid-19 diagnostics to find and monitor infected individuals, as well as trace their connections to identify other exposed persons who also may be infected. According to the Covid Tracking Project, the U.S. is testing 700,000 to 800,000 people per day in the last week of July, but the RADx project aims to boost that number to six million tests per day.

Most Covid-19 detection tests today analyze swab samples taken by clinicians from the back of the throat, then sent to remote medical labs to detect viral ribonucleic acid or RNA. At the remote labs a technique called reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, amplifies the tiny volume of RNA, genetic material that sends DNA code to cells to produce proteins, for sequencing and detection of the virus.

As of today, however, remote labs are backed up as the demand for testing increases, but lab staff and facilities remain largely static. Quest Diagnostics, one of the larger medical testing companies analyzing Covid-19 samples says it can process 135,000 samples per day, with customers waiting as long as 14 days for results.

NIH established the RADx program in April as crowd-sourced challenge to find the best candidates for Covid-19 diagnostics that can translate into large numbers of inexpensive and easy-to-use tests, in a relatively short period of time. RADx organizers expect to generate innovative solutions for diagnostics to detect SARS-CoV-2 viruses and antigens indicating the presence of antibodies protecting against infections. The agency says, as of today, it received 650 applications, of which 31 made the first cut, and with 20 teams still in contention.

The first seven RADx awards include point-of-care diagnostics, but also technologies to speed-up lab analysis of specimen  samples. NIH says developers of these devices and systems either have an emergency use authorization from FDA, or applied for an EUA.

The point-of care device awards are:

Mesa Biotech in San Diego. Its Accula SARS-CoV-2 test uses a fast RT-PCR analysis in a hand-held device that returns results in 30 minutes.

Quidel Corp. in San Diego. Quidel’s Sofia SARS Antigen FIA test kit uses a lateral flow technique like paper test strips that analyze swab samples for SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens, and return results in 15 minutes.

Talis Biomedical in Menlo Park, California. The company’s Talis One system captures samples on a cartridge, then conducts a faster PCR test than conventional technologies to return results in 30 minutes.

The lab-based awards are:

Gingo Bioworks in Boston. The company is scaling up its processes for sample handling and high-throughput sequencing, to analyze 50,000 samples per day by September and 100,000 samples per day by the end of the year, reporting results within 48 hours.

Helix in San Mateo, California. Helix is also scaling up its systems and capacity with more automation and high-throughput sequencing to process 50,000 samples per day by September and 100,000 samples per day by the end of the year, and reporting results within 48 hours.

Fluidigm Corp. in South San Francisco, California. The company’s BioMark HD uses microfluidics or lab-on-a-chip technology to analyze non-invasive saliva samples, and process tens of thousands of tests per day by the fall of 2020, but no delivery time targets are indicated.

Mammoth Biosciences in South San Francisco, California. Mammoth’s Detectr technology uses the gene-editing technique Crispr to cut DNA strands at specified points and read signals from the cuts indicating the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Science & Enterprise reported in May that Mammoth Biosciences is partnering with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline to develop a Covid-19 point-of-care test, but the company also configures the technology for commercial labs.

“The innovations selected to date represent the diverse types of promising technologies that will serve the nation’s testing needs,” says NIH director Francis Collins in an agency statement. The contracts are expected to support scale-up and manufacturing of the companies’ devices and systems.

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A.I. Employed for Local Covid-19 Prediction Models

Network illustration

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

31 July 2020. Computer scientists in California are writing deep learning algorithms that generate forecasts for Covid-19 infections in local communities. Researchers from University of California in Santa Barbara developing the technology described the models earlier this month at the Computing Research Association, or CRA, Virtual Conference.

Xifeng Yan and Yu-Xiang Wang, professors of computer science at UC – Santa Barbara, are seeking better techniques for community leaders to predict the extent of Covid-19 infections in their cities and counties. Most current models forecast Covid-19 case loads and hospitalizations at national or state levels, yet communities are faced with making decisions on opening businesses or schools, for example, without data predicting infection rates for their local areas.

Current models, say Yan and Wang, also require a lot of highly granular data for local communities that may not be readily available, if at all. To deal with these real-world conditions, the computer scientists propose adapting deep learning models, a form of artificial intelligence, that find patterns in the mass of data to derive guidance on community Covid-19 infections. “The challenges of making sense of messy data,” says Wang in a university statement, “are precisely the type of problems that we deal with every day as computer scientists working in A.I. and machine learning.”

In April, the UC – Santa Barbara team received a nearly $200,000 award from National Science Foundation for the one-year project. Their approach aims to capture early experience with Covid-19 infections in some communities and apply those patterns to similar communities in the U.S.

The researchers use a deep learning model called transformer for the task. Transformer models were first designed for natural language processing, where they interpret one sequence of data, such as a string of characters or symbols, and apply the structure or meaning from that text to another sequence of data. A key part in this process is identifying more important elements in the sequence, which helps accurately predict later data sequences.

In this case, the important element in the sequence of data is the time period to find the most relevant dates to apply for predicting outcomes in another community. “If we are trying to forecast for a specific region, like Santa Barbara County,” notes Yan, “our algorithm compares the growth curves of Covid-19 cases across different regions over a period of time to determine the most-similar regions. It then weighs these regions to forecast cases in the target region.”

Census data train the algorithms

To train their algorithms, the team drew data from the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The annual survey captures demographic, economic, health, education, housing and other community variables from 3.5 million households in the U.S. Databases generated by the survey provide highly detailed geographic data, down to census tract and block groups with 600 to 3,000 people. Cottage Health, a Santa Barbara health care system, provided clinical guidance for the project.

“When you combine [Census data] with Covid-19 data available by region,” says Wang, “it helps us transfer the knowledge learned from one region to another, which will be useful for communities that want data on the effectiveness of interventions in order to make informed decisions.”

Using Santa Barbara County in California as a test case, the team found the county’s summer 2020 spike in Covid-19 cases resembled three urban counties in North Carolina in March and April. Predictions for Santa Barbara Country using the model, say the researchers, have a mean absolute percentage error — a common measure of statistical predictive accuracy — of 0.030, lower than more widely used models.

Yan and Wang plan to collect data on more regions and communities in the U.S., and publish the model and data online. “We hope to forecast for every community in the country,” adds Yan, “because we believe that when people are well informed with local data, they will make well-informed decisions.”

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Two Covid-19 Vaccines Show Preclinical Immune Responses

SARS-Cov-2 viruses

Scanning electron microscope image showing SARS-CoV-2 viruses, in yellow. (NIAID, NIH)

30 July 2020. Two candidate vaccines to prevent Covid-19 infections show they generate immune protections in lab monkeys, with one vaccine for 13 weeks. Drug maker Johnson & Johnson reports preliminary results of its study, conducted by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center today in the journal Nature, while biotechnology company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania reports its findings on the bioRxiv preprint server and company web site.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, code-named Ad26.COV2.S employs the company’s technology that harnesses adenoviruses to deliver proteins simulating the SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen for invoking an immune response. Adenoviruses in the wild are responsible for the common cold, but in this case, they’re genetically altered to enter cells, yet not replicate. Janssen Research and Development, Johnson & Johnson’s drug development subsidiary, designed Ad26.COV2.S to produce antibodies to neutralize the proteins on the coronavirus spike that start the infection process in cells.

The Beth Israel Deaconess researchers in Boston tested the vaccine with 52 rhesus macaques, randomly assigned to receive a single dose of Ad26.COV2.S or a sham injection. The animals were then exposed to SARS-CoV-2 viruses placed in their nose and throat tissues, with samples later taken from their lower respiratory tracts and nasal passages. The results show monkeys receiving the vaccine produced a high enough concentration of neutralizing antibodies to provide complete or near-complete protection against infection.

Johnson & Johnson expects to begin clinical trials of Ad26.COV2.S in September, but already is planning new and expanded manufacturing facilities to produce 1 billion doses, if shown safe and effective in clinical trials. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, the U.S. health emergency preparedness agency, is funding much of the vaccine’s development and manufacturing costs, with BARDA and the company together spending $1 billion.

The Inovio vaccine, code-named, INO-4800 is made with Inovio’s synthetic DNA technology called DMab, short for DNA monoclonal antibody. In DMab, DNA plasmids — round, double strands of DNA — are ingested into cells, where they’re exposed to a series of mild electrical pulses. These electrical pulses from a Cellectra device, also developed by Inovio, increase the uptake of DNA into the cells, to produce a stronger immune response, according to the company.

As reported by Science & Enterprise in May, Inovio tested INO-4800 in mice and guinea pigs, with results reported in the journal Nature Communications showing the vaccine produces both antibodies blocking infections from spike proteins, as well as T-cells in the lungs. The new study tested INO-4800 in rhesus macaques, receiving two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart, with the animals challenged by live SARS-CoV-2 viruses 13 weeks after the last dose.

The results — not yet peer-reviewed — show the animals receiving the vaccine experienced high concentrations of neutralizing antibodies and T-cells against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as a more recent mutation. The company says the antibody concentrations produced by the vaccine equal or exceed concentrations in convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients, and T-cell levels exceed those found in recovered patients.

In addition, the reduced viral loads in the monkeys’ lungs and nasal passages continued when challenged with SARS-CoV-2 viruses after 13 weeks. The company says one injection of INO-4800 also produced high concentrations of neutralizing antibodies and T-cells.

Inovio is now testing INO-4800 in an early-stage clinical trial, with mid- and late-stage trials planned for later in the summer.

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Disclosure: The author owns shares in Johnson & Johnson.

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Trial Underway for Seasonal Flu Antibody Therapy

Cattle

(Stefanie Drenkow-Lolies, Pixabay)

30 July 2020. A participant in an early-stage clinical trial received the first dose of an experimental synthetic antibody produced in cattle to treat seasonal influenza. The study is testing the safety of the influenza immunotherapy code-named SAB-176 developed by SAB Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

SAB Biotherapeutics is a developer of immunotherapies for infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders that act like antibodies found in human blood plasma. The company’s technology, called DiversitAb, designs synthetic forms of these antibodies, which are humanized and scaled-up for production in larger quantities by genetically engineered cattle. The cattle produce polyclonal antibodies that the company says address multiple targets and invoke a strong immune response. The company raises and houses the engineered cattle on a ranch they call their “pharm.”

The virus causing flu outbreaks has two main types known as influenza A and B. Influenza A viruses emerge as different strains from the composition of proteins on their surface, called hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, abbreviated to H and N. The various influenza A strains are made up of combinations of 18 H and 11 N proteins. The continuous mutation of flu viruses, particularly influenza A, makes the disease difficult to contain from year to year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the 2019-2020 flu season affected as many as 56 million people in the U.S. resulting in up to 740,000 hospitalizations and 62,000 deaths.

SAB-176, says the company, is designed to overcome limitations of current treatments for severe cases of influenza. SAB Biotherapeutics says the polyclonal antibody is a synthetic human immunoglobulin G, or IgG therapy that addresses four viral influenza strains, covering both A and B types. The company designed SAB-176 for people hospitalized with severe influenza cases that can also help protect high-risk individuals, such as the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. SAB Biotherapeutics says preclinical studies demonstrate SAB-176’s potency in neutralizing various influenza strains.

“SAB-176 is a novel immunotherapy designed to address the unmet need for the treatment of seasonal influenza,” says Eddie Sullivan, president and CEO of SAB Biotherapeutics in a company statement released through BusinessWire. “SAB-176’s unique properties allow for adaptation to future emerging and mutating seasonal strains, an attribute that has also been shown to be of high importance in other viral diseases, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the emerging public health crisis.”

The clinical trial is enrolling 27 healthy volunteers to test SAB-176, looking primarily for adverse effects indicating safety issues. Participants are randomly assigned to receive one of four intravenous dosage levels of SAB-176 or a placebo, and are monitored for 90 days. In addition to tracking adverse effects, the study team is measuring concentrations of SAB-176 antibodies in blood serum, as well as evidence of an immune response in participants.

The company says the trial is now underway with a participant receiving the first dose of SAB-176. The study is expected to finish in early 2021, with results helping decide on dosage levels in a mid-stage trial to follow.

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