Public Health Programs

Through collaborations with government agencies and charitable foundations, Humabs’ portfolio of public health programs has the potential to address deadly viruses affecting millions around the world.
All the Humabs antibodies have demonstrated high potency and activity in relevant in vitro and in vivo models.
The Company’s public health programs have generated much interest among public health agencies, government institutions and charity organizations. For example, the Humabs Ebola antibody is being developed in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health and DARPA and is expected to soon enter clinical development, in addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the discovery of antibodies to prevent enteric pathogens (Campylobacter and EPEC/EAEC).


No approved treatments available for this lethal disease
While Ebola virus outbreaks can occur sporadically, the infection can be deadly in almost half of cases. In the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa approximately 28,000 infections were reported and resulted in 11,000 deaths.
There is currently no approved Ebola therapy or vaccination available. However, it is known that Ebola infection survivors carry life-long immunity, preventing further infection. In a joint effort with researchers from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Humabs and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) isolated two human antibodies against Ebola from the blood of a survivor of the 1995 Ebola outbreak eleven years after infection. The Humabs antibody - mAb114 - demonstrated in a non-human primate model high therapeutic efficacy, even when given as a monotherapy five days after infection. The antibody is now being manufactured and developed for clinical testing with the support of the DARPA. Two articles were published in Science describing the in vitro and in vivo characteristics of this antibody.


Treatments urgently needed for virus resulting in highly lethal pulmonary infections
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes highly lethal pulmonary infections. MERS first surfaced in April 2012 and as of October 2017, over 2,300 human infections associated with 730 deaths had been reported in the Middle East and in over 20 countries in Europe, North Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including an outbreak in South Korea triggered by an individual who traveled to the Middle East, contracted the virus and caused 164 infections and 23 deaths.
Humabs isolated a potent MERS-CoV–neutralizing antibody from memory B cells of an infected individual. The isolated antibody is being developed in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE). This antibody binds to a novel site on the viral spike protein, neutralizes by interfering with the binding to the cellular receptor and, in a mouse model, has been shown to be highly effective both prophylactically and therapeutically. This antibody holds the potential to be developed for prophylaxis, post-exposure prophylaxis, as well as for the treatment of severe MERS-CoV infections. The results of the in vitro and in vivo characterisation of this antibody were published in the PNAS journal.


Post-exposure treatment avoids fatal disease but safe, more accessible alternatives urgently needed
Rabies virus is transmitted by animal bites and is a preventable disease since an effective vaccine is available. Rabies virus has the highest human case fatality rate of any viral disease, as nearly all individuals who do not receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) die of the infection.
Some 40,000 to 70,000 people are estimated to die of the disease each year, mainly in Africa, China and India. The current treatment for individuals exposed to the virus consists of immunoglobulin and a vaccine, which is effective if administered within 24-48 hours following exposure. However, the availability of rabies immunoglobulins (RIG) is limited, and concerns regarding batch-to-batch variation and safety surrounding blood-derived products have been raised. The WHO has therefore strongly recommended transitioning from RIG to monoclonal antibody-based PEP to ensure an adequate supply, reduce adverse reaction risks and possibly reduce the treatment cost. Humabs has combined two internally discovered antibodies - RVC20 and RVC58. In preclinical studies, this combination has demonstrated unprecedented activity. Data on these two antibodies were published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
Leading cause of life-threatening GI infections worldwide with the greatest burden in low-income populations.


Dramatic increase in incidence leads to major international public health concern
Dengue virus affects up to 100 million people in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, 500,000 of whom are hospitalized each year. Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes severe flu-like symptoms and sometimes a potentially lethal complication called dengue hemorrhagic fever.
The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in the last two decades and has become a major international public health concern. Dengue is caused by infection by any one of four serologically distinct Dengue viruses. Humabs has combined two internally discovered antibodies – DV87 and DV22 – in a bi-specific format effectively covering all four Dengue virus serotypes. Importantly, the constant region of these antibodies was engineered to prevent binding to Fc gamma receptors, while preserving binding to the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn). This modification is key to avoid the risk of antibody disease enhancement and to block the antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) of Dengue virus disease. When tested in vivo in a mouse model of lethal antibody-enhanced vascular leak syndrome, the modified antibodies protected against lethal infection induced by Dengue virus-immune serum in a therapeutic setting. The results of the in vitro and in vivo characterisation of these antibodies were published in Cell Host & Microbes and PLoS Pathogens


Deadly enteric bacteria with major impact in children under 5 in developing countries.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), and Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) belong to the so-called Diarrheagenic E. coli (DEC) group and are significant causes of gastrointestinal illness among young children especially in developing countries.
Both EPEC and EAEC affects small intestine and are responsible for infant diarrhea with fever, nausea and vomiting, but can be distinguished because of the virulence mechanism characterized by attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions or aggregative adherence (AA) pattern, respectively. Currently, vaccines to reduce the chance of exposure to DEC are not available and rehydration represents the main form of supportive therapy.
Aiming to address this global health challenge Humabs is using its proprietary Cellclone platform to discover, characterize and select human monoclonal antibodies for the prophylaxis against these enteric pathogens in developing countries.


Leading cause of life-threatening GI infections worldwide with the greatest burden in low-income populations.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide and has recently been added to the WHO list of bacteria whose potential antibiotic resistance pose a global threat to human health.
Considered as a leading zoonosis, Campylobacter is often associated with food-borne outbreaks from contaminated water or uncooked meat, particularly poultry (C. jejuni) and pig (C. coli). Its epidemiology differs between developed countries, where the bacteria is a significant cause of traveller’s diarrhea, and the developing world, where the infection is considered almost universal in early childhood and a major cause of potentially life-threatening acute watery diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration in children under the age of 2. While in most people gastroenteritis lasts for 2-10 days, persistent disease can occur and increased risk of autoimmune disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and Guillain–Barre´ syndrome (GBS) have been associated with Campylobacter infections. Currently, there are no vaccines approved to prevent Campylobacter- associated illness. Rehydration is the main form of therapy, and although antibiotics have been shown to be beneficial in severe infections, they are often not recommended to avoid the rapid development of antibiotic resistance.
Aiming to address this global health challenge Humabs is using its proprietary Cellclone platform to discover, characterize and select human monoclonal antibodies for the prophylaxis of Campylobacter in developing countries.