PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Integral Molecular, Inc. has been awarded a five year $3.5 million contract to study the human immune response to Ebola virus and hepatitis C virus (HCV). This award enables Integral Molecular to understand how human antibodies protect (or fail to protect) against these viruses. Using its proprietary Shotgun Mutagenesis Epitope Mapping technology, Integral Molecular will identify how antibodies target binding structures, or epitopes, on Ebola and HCV, which will facilitate the development of vaccines and therapeutics against these major health threats.
This award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health) is the second NIAID contract awarded to Integral Molecular for epitope mapping. Under the recently completed first contract, Integral Molecular used Shotgun Mutagenesis to map over 280 antibody epitope binding sites on the envelope proteins of dengue virus, chikungunya virus, and HCV, exceeding the original project goals and providing some of the largest epitope data sets available for any viral pathogen. Many of these epitopes have now been published in major scientific journals and deposited in NIAID’s central Immune Epitope database (immuneepitope.org). Among the antibodies discovered and characterized by Integral Molecular are some of the most potent antibodies against chikungunya virus isolated to date, providing a potential therapeutic treatment for this debilitating viral disease.
“Understanding the full range of antibody epitopes targeted by the human immune system is vital for designing effective vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics against viruses,” said Dr. Benjamin Doranz, President of Integral Molecular. “With this contract we will isolate and characterize new human antibodies against Ebola and HCV envelope proteins. High resolution epitope maps that describe how the most effective antibodies bind and neutralize these viruses will increase our understanding of how these viral proteins function and how they can be inhibited.”
Shotgun Mutagenesis Epitope Mapping analyzes hundreds to thousands of variants of a target protein, each with a single defined amino acid substitution, to rapidly identify the binding residues that form antibody epitopes. The technology analyzes proteins directly within living human cells, allowing epitope mapping of complex proteins in their native conformation. Integral Molecular also offers Shotgun Mutagenesis services for epitope mapping and protein engineering on a fee-for-service basis to the research community.
About Integral Molecular
Integral Molecular (www.integralmolecular.com) is a research-driven biotechnology company creating a pipeline of therapeutic antibodies against under-exploited membrane protein targets, including GPCRs, ion channels, and transporters, using its proprietary MPS Discovery Engine™. This platform is built on the company’s Lipoparticle and Shotgun Mutagenesis technologies as well as its 10+ years of experience optimizing membrane proteins, enabling the isolation, characterization, and engineering of monoclonal antibodies against otherwise intractable membrane protein targets. The company currently has therapeutic programs focused on pain, autoimmunity, and infectious diseases.