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10x Genomics Joins Single-Cell Multi-Omics Alliance to Develop Antibody Therapies for Coronavirus

NEW YORK – Singapore's Proteona announced Wednesday an alliance for single-cell sequencing of B cells from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to search for antibodies that could be developed into treatments for the disease.

The firm, which offers a single-cell multi-omics platform, is joined by 10x Genomics, Heidelberg University Hospital, Tübingen University Hospital, the German Cancer Research Center, NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen, National University of Singapore (NUS) Enterprise, and NovogeneAIT. Financial and other details of the alliance were not disclosed.

In a statement, Proteona said it will work to develop "broadly neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses."

"There are currently no drugs available for treating coronaviruses. While vaccines are being developed, immunocompromised individuals, such as those with cancer, are not candidates to receive a vaccine as their immune systems are not capable of forming the necessary protective response," Proteona CEO Andreas Schmidt said in a statement. "Therefore, alternative treatment such as neutralizing antibodies is badly needed. With three major coronavirus outbreaks in the last 17 years, we have chosen to aim for developing a broadly neutralizing antibody that will hopefully help beyond the current pandemic."

Proteona is a spinout from the NUS and Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR.) Its technology — enhanced single-cell analysis with protein expression (ESCAPE) — combines single-cell sequencing with DNA-barcoded antibodies targeting proteins of interest.

The firm has partnered with Germany's National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg to characterize chimeric antigen receptor T cells at the single-cell level. 

NovogeneAIT is a Singapore-based joint venture between Novogene, a Beijing-based international genomics services provider, and AITBiotech. 

Proteona added it is actively seeking additional partners.