Roche lands rights to scientific institutes' flu antibodies

A pair of top scientific institutes has agreed to license out flu antibodies they designed with the CDC to Roche and its subsidiary Genentech.  

Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute as well as the CDC say they've been able to demonstrate that the antibodies attach themselves to novel segments of seasonal viruses as well as the H1N1 virus. And now the institutes will reap an undisclosed sum along with milestones and royalties for any new vaccines or diagnostics that are developed out of this program.

The scientists believe that the antibodies make it more difficult for the viruses to mutate in order to survive, closing a key escape route and keeping them vulnerable to vaccines. "Binding to the highly conserved stem region prevents changes in the protein that are necessary for viral entry into the host cell, thereby inhibiting further infection of host cells and the rise of escape mutants," says Dana-Farber in a release.

- check out the press release
- read the story from Mass High Tech