Ebola outbreak spurs a new antibody screening project at Theraclone

Ebolavirus under an electron microscope--Courtesy of CDC

Seattle-based Theraclone Sciences has struck a deal to hunt down therapeutic antibodies for the lethal ebolavirus using its I-Star screening platform. And the biotech is gaining a $4.4 million C round to fund the project, with the Wellcome Trust joining forces with the company's existing investors.

BIO Ventures for Global Health will collaborate with Theraclone on the project, one of many that have been organized since the deadly outbreak in West Africa.

"Ebola, like many infectious diseases, is now a global threat. New collaborative approaches with researchers and clinicians from impacted countries, disease experts, and antibody therapeutic scientists from biotechnology companies are desperately needed to develop new and effective products," said Jennifer Dent, the president of BVGH.

The collaboration marks an unusual collaboration between biotech backers and nonprofit groups looking to spur new research into major public health initiatives like this. The Ebola outbreak triggered a frenzy of attention for drug developers in the field. But the attention has faded as the outbreak began to decline. Some groups, though, are determined to stay focused, knowing that the next big outbreak could occur at any time.

Clifford Stocks, the CEO of Theraclone, noted that "this Ebola project expands upon the multitude of ongoing partnerships we have with our I-STAR technology demonstrating its broad applicability across diverse areas, including oncology, HIV and other infectious diseases.

Theraclone is a 2011 Fierce 15 company.

- here's the release

Special Report: 2011 Fierce 15 - Theraclone Sciences

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