Totient Teams with Ginko Bioworks to Try Discovery Platform to COVID-19 Antibody Efforts

By StartUp City | Monday, September 28, 2020

To ensure a continued supply of BALF samples for high-throughput testing, Totient and Ginkgo have signed on the Avera McKennan Hospital as a clinical collaborator.

FREMONT, CA: Ginkgo Bioworks announced a partnership with Totient, an AI-driven drug discovery company emerging from stealth, to rapidly identify neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19. Through this partnership, Totient will leverage Ginkgo's bioengineering platform to express and screen thousands of antibody candidates to identify broadly neutralizing therapeutic antibodies against COVID-19 for further development.

According to Daniele Biasici, Totient VP of Immunology, "Existing efforts focus on blood-derived antibodies, so focusing on BALF samples will enable Totient and Ginkgo to mine a largely unexplored source of therapeutic candidates."

Totient leverages tertiary lymphoid structures (TLSs) to identify novel tissue-specific antigens and develop matching high-affinity antibody therapeutics. As the broader scientific community mobilizes to address the coronavirus pandemic, Totient has partnered with Ginkgo to adapt and scale its platform, which has been validated in oncology and autoimmunity, to aid in the effort to discover COVID-19 antibodies. Totient's population-scale antibody discovery platform reconstructs anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples.

"Our innovative team has worked tirelessly to develop, optimize, and validate a uniquely novel antibody discovery platform over the last two years, and have seen tremendous success to-date in identifying and expressing antibodies for oncology," said Totient CEO, DenizKural. "Ginkgo is a mission-critical partner for us as we apply our platform to the current and urgent public health crisis that COVID-19 presents."

Totient and Ginkgo aim to identify one or more patient-derived neutralizing antibody candidates to advance into IND enabling studies. This collaboration is the latest Ginkgo's broader effort to scale diagnostics and develop new therapeutics and vaccines to combat COVID-19. Learn more about Ginkgo's COVID-19 response efforts.

"Working with innovative biotech companies like Totient and Ginkgo allow us to better understand the disease in our patients with COVID-19 infection," stated Dr. John Lee, CMO of Research at Avera Health."Using the BALF from patients should enable us to obtain neutralizing antibodies from the immune environment where the infection is localized, compared to looking for the sequences in paired blood samples."

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