Policy & Regulation
AvantGen Licenses Its Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies to IGM Biosciences for COVID-19 Therapy Development
12 January 2021 - - US-based biotechnology company AvantGen, Inc has licensed a panel of its anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody clones to IGM Biosciences for COVID-19 therapy development, the company said.

Using its novel yeast display system and large diverse human antibody libraries, AvantGen has identified a panel of high affinity human monoclonal antibody clones that bind to two distinct epitopes on the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Upon binding, the antibodies block the spike protein from interacting with ACE2 and thereby prevent virus-induced cell-killing, also known as cytopathic effect.

In addition, one group of antibody clones can also block ACE2's interaction with SARS-CoV-1, indicating that the epitope recognized by this group of clones is conserved between SARS-CoV-1 and -2, potentially conferring broader neutralizing activity against this family of coronaviruses.

In a recognized animal model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, AvantGen's lead candidate antibody has been shown to significantly reduce viral load in, and macrophage infiltration of, the lungs, as well as reduce disease severity.

Under the licensing agreement, AvantGen grants IGM Biosciences the rights to convert the antibody clones into IgA or IgM format for further development for the treatment of COVID-19.

AvantGen received an upfront payment from IGM Biosciences and is eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments.

AvantGen, Inc is in the use of yeast display technology for antibody discovery and optimization.

Founded by experts in the creation of antibody discovery and optimization platforms, AvantGen excels in the rapid generation of antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research tool applications.

The company's platforms include a robust yeast display system, large natural human antibody database, fully human antibody libraries comprised of over 100bn antibody clones displayed by yeast cells, NK and T cell engager technology, flow cytometry-based and other screening technologies, as well as novel methodologies for rabbit monoclonal antibody generation.

These versatile platforms can be used to discover and optimize antibodies directed at specific disease targets, affinity mature existing antibodies to improve their binding properties and humanize antibodies to render non-human antibodies suitable for human therapeutic applications, as well as generate rabbit monoclonal antibodies for applications that need extremely high specificity, such as antibodies capable of distinguishing point mutations and post-translational modifications for IHC, and anti-idiotype antibodies for PK studies.

AvantGen's partners include pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostic and government entities, many of which are repeat customers.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, IGM Biosciences is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on creating and developing engineered IgM antibodies.

Since 2010, IGM Biosciences has worked to overcome the manufacturing and protein engineering hurdles that have limited the therapeutic use of IgM antibodies.

Through its efforts, IGM Biosciences has created a proprietary IgM technology platform for the development of IgM antibodies for those clinical indications where their inherent properties may provide advantages as compared to IgG antibodies.