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Antigen Discovery Lands $2.5M SBIR Grant to Develop CDx for Sanaria's Malaria Products

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biotechnology company Antigen Discovery said today it has received a three-year, $2.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health to use its proteome microarray technology to develop companion diagnostics for Sanaria's malaria products in human trials.

The Phase II Small Business Innovation and Research award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is a continuation of a Phase I SBIR grant to scan the Plasmodium falciparum proteome for protective antigens, Antigen Discovery said. The new grant will support research using Antigen Discovery's proteome microarrays to identify biomarkers associated with responses to products from the vaccine firm, such as Sanaria PfSPZ Vaccine (radiation attenuated sporozoites), Sanaria PfSPZ Challenge (fully infectious sporozoites), and Sanaria PfSPZ-CVac (PfSPZ Challenge administered with malaria chemoprophylaxis).

"By comparing the serum antibody profiles from vaccinees who are protected with those who are not, we aim to identify surrogate antibody biomarkers associated with sporozoite vaccine-mediated protection," Philip Felgner, founder and chairman of Antibody Discovery and principal investigator on the research being conducted by the partners, said in a statement.

Also, serum samples from clinical studies conducted at Radboud University Nijmengen Medical Center in the Netherlands will be analyzed. Volunteers in the studies were completely protected after being immunized by mosquito bites carrying non-irradiated PfSPZ while taking chloroquine chemophrophylaxis to prevent blood-stage infection.

Xiaowu Liang, President and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Antigen Discovery, said that the company plans to develop a diagnostic test that can predict vaccine-mediated protection and identify antigens that could be used to produce a subunit vaccine. The firm discovers biomarkers through its high-throughput proteomics technology platform and uses and commercializes its proteome microarrays and testing models to develop diagnostic tests, therapeutics, and vaccines.

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