Therapy Areas: Infectious Diseases
Immunome Awarded Department of Defense Contract to Develop Biosynthetic Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19
28 July 2020 - - US-based biotechnology company Immunome has been awarded up to USD 13.3m from the US Department of Defense to use its proprietary technology to develop a novel biosynthetic convalescent plasma as a new potential approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

Immunome's technology works with breadth, depth and speed to interrogate B cells from patients who have successfully recovered from the COVID-19 infection.

Through this effort, Immunome intends to identify a combination of antibodies that are broadly active against the virus, enable multiple viral clearance mechanisms and will be synthetically manufactured for availability to broad patient populations.

Immunome's scientific founder, Dr. Scott Dessain, MD, PhD, and his colleagues have validated this technology platform by successfully identifying broadly neutralizing antibodies against various strains of the poliovirus.

In addition to using this technology to prevent and treat COVID-19, the company is in pre-clinical testing of antibody-based therapeutics against multiple novel oncology targets.

Convalescent plasma, which is derived from patients who have recovered from a disease, has been used to treat patients during the 1918 flu pandemic and more recently to fight severe cases of the flu, MERS, SARS, and even COVID-19.

While promising, convalescent plasma has limitations, such as availability of donor plasma at large scale, donor-to-donor variability related to their individual response, and time of collection.

Immunome's approach is designed to overcome these challenges and provide an industrially scalable, standardized process for development and manufacturing of a BCP alternative to convalescent plasma that may comprise 4-6 highly potent anti SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

The DoD's JPEO-CBRND, and its subordinate JPM CBRN Medical, provide medical countermeasures for the warfighter and the nation against biological and chemical agents of concern. This award draws on that expertise to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Immunome's technology may also have applicability beyond COVID-19, as it can also be used as a rapid response technology to quickly develop treatments during future outbreaks from other infectious agents.

The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the US federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security and the United States Armed Forces.

The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) protects the Joint Force by providing medical countermeasures and defense equipment against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

As an effective DoD acquisition program, the JPEO-CBRND's vision is a resilient Joint Force enabled to fight and win unencumbered by a CBRN environment; championed by innovative, agile, results-oriented acquisition professionals.

The Joint Project Manager for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Medical (JPM CBRN Medical) facilitates the advanced development and acquisition of medical solutions to combat CBRN and emerging threats.

JPM CBRN Medical works with JPEO-CBRND's Joint Project Lead for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense - Enabling Biotechnologies to provide new and improved medical countermeasures to enable a single treatment for many threats, rapid medical countermeasure responses, genomic sequencing and the capability to diagnose CBRN threats before the onset of symptoms.

Immunome is developing first-in-class therapies by unlocking the disease-educated B cell response from patients.

Its proprietary discovery engine identifies antibody-target pairs by interrogating the patient response with depth, breadth, and speed. Using this rich source of antibody-target pairs, Immunome is developing new therapies and exploring vast, untapped biology in high unmet need areas, such as cancer and infectious diseases.


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