Los Angeles, CA – Mabswitch Inc, a pioneering biotechnology company at the forefront of cutting-edge bioprocess technologies, is proud to announce that it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 grant by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant will support Mabswitch’s groundbreaking project, titled “LentiSAFE Ligands: Mild-Elution Immunoaffinity Ligands for Enrichment and Purification of Lentiviral Vectors”.In this new NIH supported project, Mabswitch will use its patented UNASMA™ technology to generate ligands for affinity purification matrices with regulatable affinity to lentivirus particles. Downstream processing of lentivirus particles still remains a major bottleneck owing to the intrinsic fragility of the virus that makes it highly susceptible to degradation and/or inactivation by the often harsh elution conditions that are required to desorb the lentivirus from a affinity matrix. Consequently, there is a significant unmet need for high-yielding and scalable immuno-affinity purification methods for lentivirus. These would require currently not available materials, which allow for very mild conditions to desorb the fragile vector particles from the immuno-affinity matrix. This project will assess the feasibility to selectively isolate and enrich for functional lentiviral vectors from production supernatants via the use of Switchable Affinity Mild-Elution (SAFE) immune-affinity ligands that can be formatted into matrices for the purification of lentiviral vectors under mild non-destructive conditions.
„Our approach to generate reagents that allow, for the first time, to use standardized cost-effective downstream processes built around a highly efficient immuno-affinity purification step will be a disruptive achievement for gene therapy, as it will allow for the first time, an easily scalable and cost-effective method to obtain high yields of infective lentivirus particles for all kinds of therapeutic applications. This will enable a much more widespread use of critical life-saving therapies based on lentivirus-based gene transfer. We are excited that the National Institutes of Heath recognizes the potential of our UNASMA technology and supports our research to provide the biopharmaceutical industry with the tools to significantly increase the output of innovative new medications for the treatment of cancer and other debilitating diseases.“Dr. Yemi Onakunle, CEO Mabswitch