Development & manufacture of a scFv antibody therapy for COVID-19
The current project will assemble a library of molecules known as single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies to treat COVID-19. The scFv antibodies will neutralize the SARV-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 by targeting its spike (S) glycoprotein. ScFv antibodies offer numerous advantages compared to other treatment alternatives such as small-molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies, and are arguably the cheapest and most efficacious option to fight the pandemic. The antibodies will be rapidly designed, selected and optimized using a workflow rooted in computational protein modeling and synthetic biology. The BioFoundry at the University of British Columbia, which will lead the project, ranks among Canada’s leading research groups in synthetic biology and possesses unique expertise in the experimental methods required to generate a catalogue of promising scFv candidates. The project also involves an industry partner, Sanofi Pasteur. The company is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and will provide in-kind support and technical advice to develop an economical and large-scale scFv manufacturing platform. We anticipate generating the antibody library within a short period of 6 months, following which the library and manufacturing protocol will be transferred to Sanofi Pasteur for clinical and commercial development.