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March 15, 2019updated 20 Mar 2019 10:05am

AbCellera and Gates Foundation to develop anti-infective therapies

Canadian drugmaker AbCellera has partnered with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the research and development of new therapies to treat high-priority infectious diseases.

Canadian drugmaker AbCellera has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The two year agreement will see the organisations work together on the prevention and treatment high-priority infectious diseases.

There has been $4.8m of funding allocated to the partnership, which will support a series of scientific collaborations between AbCellera and Gates Foundation funded scientists.

AbCellera will contribute through its human antibody discovery and immune repertoire profiling capabilities, with the aim of developing vaccines and antibody-based therapies.

“AbCellera’s human antibody discovery capabilities will have a catalytic role in the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and antibody therapies.”

This will be carried out using the groundbreaking gene sequencing technology Rep-Seq, which AbCellera acquired last year through Lineage Biosciences. Rep-Seq is able to capture all types of antibodies produced by natural immune responses.

The use of Rep-Seq in combination with AbCellera’s single-cell discovery platform is expected to improve the range of antibodies identified and allow more rational vaccine design.

The target diseases include HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

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AbCellera CEO Carl Hansen said: “We believe AbCellera’s human antibody discovery capabilities will have a catalytic role in the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and antibody therapies for improved global health.”

Previously, the company and the Gates Foundation partnered on the identification of high-affinity monoclonal antibodies against ten biomarkers linked to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection.

AbCellera business development head Kevin Heyries said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the Gates Foundation again in such a critical area of global health.

“Because our platform can screen millions of single B cells per day, allowing us to identify rare and highly-potent antibodies from patient samples, the resulting fully-human antibodies can be used for the prevention of deadly diseases for which vaccine development has proven difficult.”

Last month, the company also entered a multi-year, multi-target agreement with Novartis.

As part of the deal, Novartis will use AbCellera antibody discovery technology for up to ten clinically-relevant disease targets.

The platform leverages genomic sequences, artificial intelligence and data visualisation techniques to identify the antibody molecules that would make the best drug candidates.

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