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Leinco Technologies, Vanderbilt University Ink Agreement to Develop Coronavirus POC Test

NEW YORK ─ Leinco Technologies said today it has entered into an agreement with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) to scale up production of its most promising antibodies for development of an immunodiagnostic test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fenton, Missouri-based Leinco Technologies said that under the agreement it will co-develop a test that has antibody sequences discovered in the Nashville, Tennessee-based Vanderbilt Vaccine Center (VVC).

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Pat Leinert, president and CEO of Leinco, said in a statement that the firm will use its protein expression technology platform to rapidly scale up manufacturing of the antibodies from a DNA sequence. The partners are taking aim at a COVID-19 test kit that can be mass manufactured and used to track and trace the virus, he added.

Robert Carnahan, associate director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, said that these types of screening approaches "will be a critical piece of returning our society back to normalcy through tracking and understanding prior exposures to this specific virus."

VVC researchers have developed techniques for rapidly isolating clones of antibody-producing white blood cells that produce antibodies targeting specific viral proteins. Using these techniques, they have generated human monoclonal antibodies against a wide range of pathogenic viruses. They have now identified antibodies capable of neutralizing COVID-19 and are rapidly selecting the best candidates for moving forward, Leinco said.