Antibody Discovery and Engineering
Over two decades, the antibody discovery program at the IRB contributed to advances in monoclonal antibody technologies while making important scientific discoveries in the field of antibodies against a broad range of infectious diseases, such as those caused by coronaviruses, flaviviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, paramyxoviruses, influenza, rabies, parainfluenza and malaria (see references below).
Monoclonal antibodies that were discovered at the IRB, or using IRB-licensed technologies, are undergoing clinical development (for example CoV-X4042, which is effective against all coronaviruses variants; Bianchini et al) and in some cases already reached clinical approval (e.g. Ansuvimab against ebola and Sotrovimab against COVID-19).
In recent years, the platform was expanded to include antibody engineering and computational modeling methods to enhance the effectiveness of natural antibodies (e.g. Bispecific IgG neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 variants and prevents escape in mice; De Gasparo et al). Moreover, novel areas of endeavor include epitope-targeted discovery (e.g. Antibodies targeting highly conserved viral regions; Bianchini et al) and Discovery of post-infectious autoantibodies with anti-inflammatory potential; (Muri et al).
The antibody discovery and engineering activities at the IRB are in coordination with numerous international collaborators, including European consortia (e.g. Antibody Therapy Against Coronavirus, ATAC and Integrated Services for Infectious Disease Outbreak Research ISIDORe) and investigatos in the United States and other Countries (United World Antiviral Research Network UWARN).
Furthermore, the IRB leads since 2008 the Antibody Discovery platform of the Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (SVRI).