NEW YORK – Leinco Technologies announced on Tuesday that it has licensed certain SARS-CoV-2 antibodies directed against the nucleocapsid, or N, protein from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.
Under the agreement, Leinco will have exclusive access to the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to develop them for use in diagnostic applications based on N protein-specific antibodies. It will also make the antibodies commercially available as part of their research tools catalog.
Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
According to a statement from Fenton, Missouri-based Leinco, the presence of N protein antibodies can help doctors determine whether an immune response resulted from a SARS-CoV-2 infection or a vaccine, since currently distributed vaccines only induce antibodies against the spike, or S, protein.
The company also noted that the N protein may be less prone to accumulating mutations than the S protein, for which several mutations have been recently reported.
“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," Leinco President and CEO W. Pat Leinert said in a statement.
Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor in the Center of Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research at the institute, said the antibodies were discovered and developed using a "high-resolution view of the interaction surface between virus and immune system, where the rubber meets the road, combined with precision engineering of the molecules involved."
Last April, Leinco entered an agreement with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to scale up production of its antibodies to co-develop a SARS-CoV-2 immunodiagnostic test.