AvantGen receives an award from the NIH/RADx to commercialize its anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibodies for ultra-high sensitivity lateral flow assay development

SAN DIEGO, May 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AvantGen, a San Diego-based biotech, is a leader in the use of yeast display technology for human and rabbit monoclonal antibody discovery and optimization. AvantGen has received an award from the NIH’s RADx Next program to expedite the commercialization of its high affinity rabbit monoclonal antibodies against the nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV-2. A pair of the antibody clones has been evaluated extensively in a rapid lateral flow assay (LFA) format for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 N protein. The results demonstrated the test is highly sensitive and superior to many current marketed antigen tests.

Key features of the pair of antibody clones are:

1. Both clones exhibit pM affinity and recognize the N protein variants from commonly circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including UK (D3L, S235F), S. African (T205I), and Brazilian (P80R) variants with similar affinity to the original strain.

2. A prototype LFA test developed using the two clones exhibits an LOD in the range of 30 to 50 TCID50/mL with both live SARS-CoV-2 virus (Washington state SARS-CoV-2 isolate WA1-F6/2020) and gamma-irradiated SARS-CoV-2. Data were independently confirmed by an NIH sponsored laboratory.

3. The LFA test can detect N protein in clinical samples (n=55; Ct values 14-38) with 100% sensitivity. The data were generated internally and confirmed by an NIH sponsored laboratory.

4. The LFA test is specific for SARS-CoV-2 and does not cross-react with other circulating coronaviruses.

“Simple antigen tests offer the advantages of ease of use, low cost and stability for non-laboratory settings.  However, they often lack the necessary sensitivity and specificity which translates to unacceptable rates of false positive and false negative results, limiting their use in the pandemic,” said Xiaomin Fan, Ph.D., Founder and President of AvantGen. “We are extremely pleased to see that our rapid test exhibits an ultra-high sensitivity similar to that of the CDC’s PCR test. With the funding from RADx, we look forward to the further development of rapid antigen tests with these antibodies.”

For more information, please contact Catherine Woods at cmwoods@avantgen.com.

About AvantGen

AvantGen, Inc is a leader in the use of yeast display technology for antibody discovery and optimization. Founded by experts in the creation of antibody discovery and optimization platforms, AvantGen excels in the rapid generation of antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research tool applications. The Company’s platforms include a robust yeast display system, large natural human antibody database, fully human antibody libraries comprised of over 100 billion antibody clones displayed by yeast cells, NK and T cell engager technology, as well as novel methodologies for rabbit monoclonal antibody generation. These versatile platforms can be used to discover and optimize antibodies directed at specific disease targets, affinity mature existing antibodies to improve their binding properties and humanize antibodies to render non-human antibodies suitable for human therapeutic applications, as well as generate rabbit monoclonal antibodies for applications that need extremely high specificity, such as antibodies capable of distinguishing point mutations and post-translational modifications for IHC, and anti-idiotype antibodies for PK studies. AvantGen’s partners include pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostic and government entities, many of which are repeat customers. For more information, visit www.avantgen.com.