Collaborative Research and Licensing Opportunity: Neutralizing Antibodies to Influenza HA and Their Use and Identification

Scientists at NIAID isolated families of antibodies capable of neutralizing diverse group 1 and group 2 influenza A viruses. The antibodies identified precisely targeted parts of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein, present on the surface of the influenza virus, that are least variable from season to season. A passive administration of members of these families of antibodies to individuals would represent an alternative to the current standard of care for severe influenza virus infection.

The effectiveness of current influenza vaccines varies by strain and season, in part because influenza viruses continuously evolve to evade human immune responses. While the majority of seasonal influenza infections cause relatively mild symptoms, each year influenza virus infections result in over 500,000 hospitalizations in the United States and Europe.  Current standard of care for individuals hospitalized with uncomplicated influenza infection is administration of neuraminidase inhibitors.  However, frequent use of such antiviral drugs increases the risk that the virus will develop drug resistance, especially in high-risk populations.  Thus, alternative strategies are required to protect or treat vulnerable populations who have been hospitalized with severe influenza.

            Using a combination of recombinant proteins and sophisticated flow cytometry, scientists at NIAID isolated families of antibodies capable of neutralizing diverse group 1 and group 2 influenza A viruses.  Specifically, the families of antibodies identified precisely target parts of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein, present on the surface of the influenza virus, that are least variable from season to season (Joyce, M.G., et al. Cell (2016) 166 (3): 609-623).  Therefore, it is hypothesized that passive administration of members of these families of antibodies to individuals would represent an alternative to the current standard of care for severe influenza virus infection.  Additionally, these families of antibodies could be useful for development of a product aimed at conferring passive immunity in vulnerable populations during the time of an outbreak or emergence of a pandemic strain of influenza.

Potential Commercial Applications: 

  •       Prevention of influenza A virus infection
  •      Therapeutic intervention to treat influenza infection

Competitive Advantages: 

  •       Ability to potently neutralize both group 1 and group 2 influenza A strains  

Development Stage: 

  • Proof of concept in animal models

Inventors:  Adrian McDermott (NIAID), Peter Kwong (NIAID), John Mascola (NIAID), M. Gordon Joyce (NIAID), Robert Bailer (NIAID), Sarah Andrews (NIAID), Paul Thomas (NIAID), Gwo-Yu Chuang (NIAID), Adam Wheatley (NIAID), Yi Zhang (NIAID), James Whittle (NIAID).

Publications:  Joyce, M.G., et al. Cell (2016) 166 (3): 609-623

Intellectual Property:  HHS Reference No. E-061-2016 - US Patent Application No. 62/330,837 filed May 2, 2016; Patent Cooperation Treaty Application No. PCT/US2017/030641 filed May 2, 2017.

Licensing  And Collaborative Research Opportunity:  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize influenza monoclonal antibody technologies.  For  licensing and collaboration opportunities, please contact Dr. Amy Petrik, 240-627-3721; amy.petrik@nih.gov.  


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NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office

NIAID’s technology transfer office, TTIPO, is a one-stop resource for organizations interested in partnering with NIAID to access, develop, and manage the translation of research discoveries into medically beneficial products. TTIPO seeks to expand NIAID’s innovation pipeline with existing and new partners in areas such as newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (e.g., dengue, Zika, Ebola, influenza, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and HIV/AIDS), biodefense (e.g., smallpox and anthrax), and immune-mediated diseases (e.g., asthma and allergy).

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