La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), a leading research organization focussed on studying the immune system has signed a licensing agreement with Leinco Technologies, a premier developer and manufacturer of leading-edge recombinant proteins, antibodies, and conjugates. Leinco also provides custom manufacturing services to the diagnostic and biopharmaceutical industries to leverage proprietary COVID-19 antibodies developed at LJI.
Under the terms of the agreement, Leinco will gain exclusive access to certain SARS-CoV-2 antibodies directed against the virus’ nucleocapsid (N) protein, which forms the virus’ inner shell. In addition to developing the antibodies for use in diagnostic applications based on N protein-specific antibodies, Leinco will make these antibodies commercially available as part of their extensive catalogue of research tools.
Most first generation COVID-19 vaccines are exclusively directed at the spike (S) protein on the virus surface, but the N protein is just as efficient in eliciting a strong antibody response. But most importantly, the N protein appears to be less prone to accumulating mutations than the S protein, for which a number of novel mutations have been reported over the course of the pandemic.
Since currently distributed vaccines only induce antibodies against the S protein, the presence of antibodies against N allows doctors to distinguish between immune responses that resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2 versus a S protein-based vaccine.
Pat Leinert Sr., President and CEO of Leinco Technologies, said: “With La Jolla’s extensive knowledge in infectious diseases and Leinco’s novel protein expression platform, combined, we are capable of bringing high quality reagents and diagnostic tools to the masses and further SARS-CoV-2 research and treatment options.”
These antibodies are the result of a powerful molecular discovery pipeline at LJI developed by structural immunologists Kathryn Hastie, Ph.D., and Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D. Saphire is a professor in the Center of Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research and Director of a of an international consortium to evaluate antibody therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 to prevent and treat COVID-19.