Collaboration with Utah State University uses transgenic goats to produce human antibodies
Sioux Falls, S.D. and Salt Lake City, Utah – SAB Capra, LLC, a privately-held, emerging bioscience company developing targeted human polyclonal antibodies for use in diagnostics, testing and immunotherapeutics, has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance its novel immunotherapy platform targeting pandemic influenza in collaboration with Utah State University.
The company will use the funds, awarded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), to continue development and optimization of its transchromosomal (Tc) goats™ to broaden the Tc animal platform developed by SAB Biotherapeutics, to small ungulate species. The award outlines evaluation of Tc goat produced human antibodies to fight the pandemic influenza (H7N9) with which the goats were vaccinated to generate the natural immune response.
“Despite advances in modern medicine, there are still unmet needs around the globe,” said Eddie J. Sullivan, Ph.D., president and CEO of SAB Biotherapeutics and SAB Capra. “We need more powerful tools and more robust solutions. The DiversitAb™ Platform, leveraging transgenic animals, uses nature’s tools to fight disease. This system is uniquely suited to address emerging threats and the highly mutational nature of viruses like flu and antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”
The grant-funded project is a collaboration with Utah State University College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, led by researcher Irina Polejaeva, Ph.D., an industry pioneer of genetic engineering in goats. The study includes the evaluation of the human antibodies produced in the Tc goats, as wells as target-specific evaluation of the immunoglobulins to pandemic flu strain H7N9.
“Tc goats are uniquely suited to quickly building a platform with their short gestation period, rapidly maturing immune system, broad adaptability and reasonable production cost,” Polejaeva said.
“In addition to immunotherapeutic candidates for infectious disease, oncology, auto-immunity and inflammation, SAB Capra can produce immunoglobulins for use as diagnostic controls and reagent standards for clinical serological testing for infectious disease without the risks associated with convalescent samples,” she added.
The one-year grant was awarded January 15, 2018, through the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), with results expected before the end of the year. Once the testing is complete, SAB Capra will continue to build out the company’s herd of Tc Goats for production of antibodies to broader targets.
“We’re committed to enhancing this novel platform to produce additional life-saving tools,” Sullivan said. “This grant is important to the progress of advancing our platform as a countermeasure to influenza and other emerging pandemic threats.”
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About SAB Capra, LLC
SAB Capra, LLC is a privately-held, emerging bioscience company leveraging transgenic goats for the production of human polyclonal antibodies for use in diagnostics and testing, targeted immunotherapies and personalized medicine applications. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, SAB Capra was organized through collaboration with Utah State University (USU) researchers Dr. Irina Polejaeva and Dr. Zhongde Wang. The initial project was supported by a grant from Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Initiative, a technology based economic development initiative funded by the state of Utah. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc., which is pioneering the development and use of large transgenic animals for the production of targeted human polyclonal antibodies with their novel DiverstAb™ immunotherapy platform.
About Utah State University
Utah State University is based in Logan, Utah, and supports regional campuses throughout the state. The university fosters faculty and student research, and is ranked the #2 public university in the West (Forbes list of America’s Best College Buys). For more about USU’s transgenic goat research collaboration with SAB Capra, see http://www.tinyurl.com/USUgoats.