Partnership to help bring Zika virus therapy to clinic

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are partnering with the Dutch biopharmaceutical firm Batavia Biosciences and Nashville-based IDBiologics to bring to the clinic a highly potent Zika virus neutralizing antibody they isolated three years ago. The mosquito-borne Zika virus is believed to cause microcephaly, unusually small heads, and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women. Currently there is no way to prevent Zika virus infection or its aftermath.

Batavia Biosciences announced that it has signed a license agreement to use a cell line expression system developed by Horizon Discovery, a life sciences company based in Cambridge, England, for development of high yield, antibody-expressing cell lines. Initially Batavia will deploy the system to produce the anti-Zika antibody in collaboration with VUMC and IDBiologics, which is using a proprietary platform to discover and develop human antibodies for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.