Snake bite antidotes using engineered human antibodies discovered

Snakebite envenoming continues to claim many lives across the globe, necessitating the development of improved therapies. Recent research discovers and optimizes a broadly-neutralizing human monoclonal antibody to possess advantages over current plasma-derived antivenoms by offering superior safety and high neutralization capacity.

Approximately 60.000 people die from snakebites every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a goal to halve snakebite mortality by 2030. A recent study aims at developing broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies and demonstrates a potential of a range of IgGs to neutralize toxins from several snake species. Such discovery is a critically important next step towards enabling the design of novel, broadly-neutralizing recombinant antivenoms against snakebite envenoming.

A new paper entitled ‘Discovery and optimization of a broadly-neutralizing human monoclonal antibody against long-chain α-neurotoxins from snakes’ is now published in ‘Nature Communications’ and can be read here

Both the QPatch and Qube 384 systems have been used for data generation for the paper. Our Senior Research Scientist, Kim Boddum, summarizes the research conducted on our platforms very well in a poster video here

Great collaboration was achieved between IONTAS, DTU (Technical University of Denmark), Universidad de Costa Rica UCR, ETH Zürich, and Sophion Bioscience.

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Currently, more than 90% of approved drugs are small molecules, but large molecules (>1.000 Da, also known as biologics) are rapidly rising in prominence and importance in drug discovery. Today, they constitute the lion’s share of the top 10 selling drugs worldwide.

Large molecules have gained attention due to their mode of action, often achieving greater target specificity and potency than small molecule drugs. This, however, comes at a cost as they are usually expensive, scarce, and can have unwanted polyreactivity (“stickiness”). In addition, they are more sensitive to their environment, as their three-dimensional structure is key to their function, and they rely on other, weaker interactions than covalent bonds.

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