Novabody's COVID-19 antibody helps fight against the pandemic
People's Daily online

After screening “a display library containing close to one billion” COVID-19 specific single-domain antibodies (sdAb) and conducting hundreds of confirmation tests, the research team of Beijing Novabody Biomedical Technology released its latest results, striving to offer a protective and preventative solution for the novel coronavirus.

According to a spokesperson of Novabody, the sdAb is mainly derived from the naturally existing antibodies found in camelids or cartilaginous fishes. It has only a heavy chain and no light chain. By engineering a fragment of that heavy chain, the fragment crystallizable region is removed to form a single monomeric variable domain, hence the name.

(Photo: agencies)

Because a single domain antibody has only one-tenth the molecular weight of a regular antibody, strong penetration, good thermal stability and high affinity, it can be applied in many fields of the pharmaceutical industry.

On the eve of the Chinese New Year in 2020, Novabody’s research and development team assembled in Beijing, halted all plans on tumor-targeting antibody projects which were already halfway done, and launched emergency research focused solely on the construction of the “COVID-19 neutralizing single domain antibody library.”

The coronavirus is like a radial object with many “tentacles.” The existing antibody treatments reported by international news sources were only capable of controlling one of the “tentacles,” which can pose a risk for viral mutation. The single domain antibody is “capable of multi-epitope binding.” Studies have shown that multi-epitope binding can effectively inhibit the mutation of virus. In this aspect, the advantage of Novabody’s anti-COVID sdAb is that it can form multi-functional antibodies on the nanoscale, and chimerically bind to the multi-epitope of the virus to achieve neutralization and reduce the risk of mutation.

“Compared with the traditional full size antibody, the single domain antibody has a shorter R&D cycle, higher R&D success rate, and lower production cost. When using the yeast fermentation method to produce, we can use a fermentation tank that holds more than a ton,” said the spokesperson.

The head of research and development said that sdAb also had a much wider role to play in disease detection and treatment. They can be used in in vitro diagnostics to improve product accuracy and specificity, and therefore increase the early screening and detection rate of various ailments. They can be used in chemical drugs, radiopharmaceuticals or cell therapies to help increase their targeting and reduce the traditional toxicity of treatment. They can be used in the research and development of antibody drugs, to provide higher quality and more affordability.

Novabody is a research-based innovative company focused on sdAb and their derivatives, and the company’s leading scientists have been working among the forerunners in the sdAb field since 2001. The team has accumulated ample knowledge and experience in sdAb applications in biomedicine, antibody-drug conjugates, radiation diagnostic and therapeutic drugs, in vitro diagnostics, and other areas.

The research team has dedicated themselves in this fight against a global pandemic, hoping to provide their professional insight into the mix. Their application of sdAb technology has proven its edge in dealing with the virus.