Global academic-industry collaboration developing anti-venom antibodies

The development of snakebite antivenoms has remained largely unchanged for over a century. The tried and tested technique involved inoculating horses with snake venoms: the horse immune response generates antibodies that can neutralize the snake venom. However, these equine derived anti-venoms are time-consuming to make, can have limited efficacy and can cause immune responses in human snakebite patients.

Snakebites cause the most injuries and fatalities in developing countries, affecting some of the poorest regions in the world. A lack of research and therapeutic development led the World Health Organization to designate snakebite as a Neglected Tropical Disease in 2017.

Using the latest antibody engineering techniques and technologies Andreas Laustsen’s Tropical Pharmacology Lab, DTU, Copenhagen has approached this problem with innovative science and solutions in this much needed, but neglected, area of medicine. In a global collaboration across academia and industry with Sophion Biosciences (Denmark), IONTAS (UK) and the Instituto Clodomiro Picado (Costa Rica), they have bio-engineered antibodies to neutralise snake venom toxins.

Line Ledsgaard, a PhD student in the Laustsen lab, DTU, gave a talk on this groundbreaking work.

You can see more talks on the Tropical Pharmacology Lab’s critical anti-venom work here.