Enumeral, ICAV set out to find antipathogen antibodies

ICAV thinks Enumeral's platform has applications in pandemic preparations.

Enumeral Biomedical has laid the groundwork for an infectious disease collaboration with the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV). If finalized, the alliance will see ICAV send samples for screening by Enumeral in a bid to identify human antibodies against particular pathogens.

Today, the relationship consists of a memorandum of understanding that lacks information about the terms and conditions of the collaboration. Enumeral and ICAV plan to iron out those details. If those efforts are successful and the collaboration goes ahead, ICAV will start sending samples from patients previously infected by or vaccinated against certain pathogens for screening at Enumeral.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Enumeral, which is built upon technology developed at MIT, thinks its ways of analyzing immune cells could uncover antibodies against the pathogens. And ICAV thinks the idea has legs, too.

“Rapidity of response is the key to containing infectious disease outbreaks and thus preventing them from becoming epidemics or pandemics,” ICAV CEO Jeremy Carver, Ph.D., said in a statement. “This collaboration will evaluate the contribution that Enumeral’s platform could make to significantly shorten the time taken to intervene in the next infectious disease outbreak with pandemic potential.”

ICAV and Enumeral will cover their own costs incurred in the collaboration. For Enumeral, that may prove challenging. The biotech closed out 2016 with $3.6 million in cash, a sum it said would see it through to May. Faced with the imminent cash crunch, Enumeral said late last month it is looking for financing arrangements, collaborations or buyout bids that can equip it to keep pumping cash into its pipeline.

The difficulties have caused Enumeral to veer deeper and deeper into penny-stock territory. After listing through a reverse merger and raising $21.5 million at $1 a share in 2014, Enumeral's stock has fallen steadily. The stock trades today at $0.10, giving the company a market cap of $12.8 million.